November 2016: Give the Gift of Civility this Thanksgiving

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In this Issue

Opening Remarks

Whew!  The election is finally over and now we can get things back to normal, right?   But “normal” is still missing for many of us and the anger of the campaign still lingers.  In this edition of Transforming Challenges, we offer some advice for leaders wanting to help their teams talk with each other about explosive issues.  


  • John Reid and Maureen Reid co-facilitated the second planning retreat in the Diocese of Duluth for the Called to be One school planning process.  Bishop Sirba and the School Board will decide on the best approach to the transition from four schools to one new, vibrant school in January 2017.  Implementation will begin with the 2017-18 academic year.
  • Maureen Gallagher facilitated a planning day for the Waukesha Catholic Schools, bringing together the schools serving the four parishes in Waukesha, WI.
  • John Reid has been hired by the Benedictines in Shawnee, OK to work with the monks on issues relating to their property and the relationship of the monastery to St. Gregory University as part of their implementation of the recent strategic plan.
  • Tom Reid and John Reid have been hired by the Diocese of Trenton to help the diocese implement the decisions of Bishop O’Connell on new parish structures and alignment.

So as you look at your individual or organizational future, what are your challenges? Could you benefit from skilled support? Give us a call at 206-432-3565 or send us an e-mail to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.

The Reid Group webinar series

Sustainable Future Audit Resource

  • Is your organization working from a clear and actionable plan?
  • How is your financial health? 
  • How well is your organization dealing with the impacts of change, loss and growth?  

If any of these questions strike a chord then mark your calendar. You are invited to The Reid Group Webinar on the Sustainable Future Audit Resource:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
4pm ET / 3pm CT / 2pm MT / 1pm PT

Focus:  Scanning Your Organization through a Leadership Conversation

In this webinar we will introduce you to The Reid Group’s Sustainable Future Audit Resource to assess your strengths in:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Financial Viability
  • Leadership Retention & Recruitment
  • Change, Loss & Growth

To register for this webinar, simply click here. Space is limited, so register today.

Feature Focus

Give the Gift of Civility this Thanksgiving
Kathryn Johnson, Director of Communications
The Reid Group

I am blessed to have a sister-in-law whom I cherish.  Our backgrounds and families are very different, but we share what I think of as a delightful–but many find incomprehensible–sense of the absurd.  She is a second mother to my son.  And in the 25+ years we have known each other, we have never discussed politics.  Certainly not during this election when no one seemed able to bridge political divides.  But it has left me with the question–if two people who love and respect each other can’t even talk about much less agree on important issues, what hope is there for the country?

At The Reid Group our motto is “transforming challenges into opportunities” and this post-election season presents us all with a doozy of a challenge.  How do we bring back a measure of civility in the way we think about and talk with each other?

As post-election morphs into Thanksgiving, we have the chance to seize this challenge and turn it into an opportunity for genuine dialogue (something sadly lacking in the campaign).

The rhetoric of this election was unprecedented for its personal vitriol and sweeping generalizations unencumbered by fact.  The negativity went beyond political debates or campaign speeches–fueled in part by the anonymity of social media, it was part and parcel of everyone’s daily interaction.

Gaping chasms in our body politic were laid bare by this election and they don’t just threaten heartburn at the Thanksgiving table.  They also infect workplaces and can disrupt teams.  So, dealing with this kind of conflict is something leaders need to pay  attention to.

One way to do that, of course, is to ban all talk of politics.  But just like ignoring any kind of conflict surfacing in the workplace, a “politics-free zone” may shove the conflict out of sight but it won’t put it out of mind.  Leaders can use this hottest of hot-button issues as an opportunity to help their teams figure out how to talk to each other about issues that divide them.

The rules for RESPECT dialogue, based on the work of Eric Law, provide a road map for leaders as they help their teams navigate difficult conversations:

R = take RESPONSIBILITY for what you say and feel without blaming others
E = use EMPATHETIC listening
S = be SENSITIVE to differences in communication styles
P = PONDER on what you hear and feel before you speak
E = EXAMINE your own assumptions and perceptions
T = TRUST/TOLERATE ambiguity

The object of respectful dialogue isn’t necessarily to convince the other side that you’re right, or even to acknowledge areas of agreement.  It’s to create a safe, non-judgmental space to listen to each other, to recognize one’s own limitations and to see the “other” as a person deserving of respect.  It’s not world peace–yet–but it’s a start.

Kick off the holiday gift-giving season by giving something you won’t find at the Black Friday sales–the gift of civility.  It will  benefit your work relationships and, who knows, it might stave off that Thanksgiving heartburn too. 


The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning

Think about what your organization could do if the process of planning met the inevitability of change head-on—and it resulted in significant success.

bookcoverweb2Organizations large and small, religious and secular, for-profit and not-for-profit, successful and unsuccessful, go through change. John Reid and Maureen Gallagher of the Reid Group have been instrumental in helping many groups discover the power of Prophetic Planning. This book presents a complete overview with detailed information that any organization will find useful in understanding how to plan for change.

The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning, and its companion CD are now available from Liguori Publications as well as from

And that’s it for this month. Look for Transforming Challenges next month–and until then, have a good day and a great week.Kathy Johnson, Editor, Transforming Challenges
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