News from The Reid Group

  • Maureen Gallagher is conducting a search for a Mission Advancement Associate Director for the San Jose Dominicans. Please let Maureen know if you are interested in the position by calling her at 262-646-4209.
  • John Reid and Maureen Gallagher are working with the Catholic Health Association on updating the competencies for mission leaders in the United States.
  • Tom Reid continues his executive coaching and just returned from the Elder Rites of Passage (EROP) in Washington state. Tom continues being involved with men’s work and serves on the Board of Illuman. For more information, contact Tom at 206-947-2990
  • The Reid Group is a strategic partner with Tryon Clear View Group, a cost reduction company that specializes in Purchase Services Audits where they identify, verify and recover billing errors, vendor overcharges which are refundable to organizations. They then secure these reimbursements from the vendors. In addition to telecommunication, copiers, waste management and utilities charges, they also audit postal services and credit card processing. The only fee paid by the client is a percentage of the actual savings.  The first two contracts secured by this strategic partnership are a college and a Catholic parish; we have received the first report of savings for one of these contracts which showed savings of $60,000 over the next five years in telecommunications alone.  If you are interested in this service, contact us at
  • Our Strategic Partner Joe Sankovich has developed an important resource for dioceses and parishes with cemeteries called TOOLBOX FOR PARISH CEMETERIES. For more information go to: Joe Sankovich, former director of cemeteries in the Archdiocese of Seattle, and owner of Sankovich & Associates since 1990, has developed an educational tool for parishes with their own Catholic cemeteries. Directed to pastors, parish business managers, cemetery managers/sextons/superintendents, parish cemetery advisory board members and parish finance council members, the six hard copy manuals are formatted in the same fashion as the early diocesan teaching documents for the Second Vatican Council. Sankovich waited until he had worked with/in more than 1,200 parish cemeteries in different areas of the United States, and conducted more than 100 seminars with pastors, parish and cemetery employees/volunteers, to organize and format these manuals.
  • The Reid Group is also a strategic partner with The Steier Group. The Steier Group is a national, capital campaign fundraising firm based in Omaha, Nebraska, with offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas. They provide nonprofits with customized campaign planning studies, guidance from a team of expert project managers and strategic insight designed to help our clients reach their fundraising goals. Contact Matt Vuorela for more information about the firm’s services.

So as you look at your individual or organizational future, what are your challenges? Could you benefit from skilled support? Give us a call: John (206) 947-1055 Tom (206) 947-2990 Maureen (414) 403-9357 or send us an e-mail  to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.
Grieving as a Journey Process  

Maureen Gallagher, Senior Consultant
Many people, when they hear the word grief, immediately think of losing a loved one. Certainly, this is a very significant and poignant experience, one where the aspects of grief live on for years. “But all is not lost” as memories can continue to energize us as we begin or continue the grieving journey. Memories of the deceased triggered by photos, videos or various life experiences are helpful in accepting the reality of loss, as well as finding further meaning in the experience, and a deeper awareness of the relationship.

The heartbreaking and overwhelming experience of losing a loved one is for many the most significant source of life-altering change. Examples of other significant experiences of loss which often prompt grief include moving from a “wonderful” neighborhood, losing a job, living through the rupture of what was a loving relationship, the closing of an effective and loved parish or school, or losing a favorite pastor or teacher. Losses of favorite events and people, hopes and dreams, prompt a process of grieving. Experiencing both success and failure are related to loss. They are intertwined with disappointment, not reaching goals, not supporting team efforts, as well as positive aspects of life such as getting married, receiving a promotion, winning a game, etc. Just as an experience of failure sparks grief, so do “positive” changes. There are losses in accepting a promotion. For instance, peer relationships are not the same; “office” space changes; schedules change; availability may be limited or increased -- both successes and failures are embedded in some loss and grief.

Dealing with loss, failure, change and grief is not a “once and for all” experience. It is a process, where people go through various stages. Different specialists such as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross or John Bowlby vary in how they name the stages and the number of them. However, they and others conceptually recognize the first four concepts described below as being intertwined in most grieving processes. The fifth area, which is not universal, is where the consciousness of the Spirit’s presence in the grieving process is recognized.
Many religious/spiritual traditions and various rituals are embedded in grieving practices. Some are individually focused, some communal, national, international or global. After culling, editing and discerning the ideas about grief from specialists, along with my own experience, I offer the following thoughts with the hope that they may stimulate your own ideas and reflection and that you will share and discuss them with others. They are not “the answer” to dealing with loss, but are meant to prompt sharing and reflection.

A Grieving Process:

1.    Experiencing shock, disbelief, numbness, denial
2.    Yearning, searching, bargaining and desiring for what has been lost
3.    Being angry, depressed, disorganized, “out of sorts,” anxious, fearful
4.    Recovering, being less anxious and more organized, beginning to rediscover elements of joy in life
5.    Discovering the role of Spirituality in suffering, loss and grief

Spirituality is not a separate stage, but is integrated into all aspects of grieving, though spirituality is often not recognized, as such.

Stage One, experiencing shock and disbelief often have threads of denial—“this could not be happening,” or “if only I had…” or feeling guilty and distressed which critically hurts a sense of “self.” While some pain is inherent in loss and is part of life, how it is handled, is critical to its effect on those enduring the loss. If the loss or hurt is “denied” or “not taken seriously” that can lead to the person or persons experiencing the loss feeling serious physical diminishment, “aloneness” or psychological anguish. If the loss is taken seriously, and through a deeper awareness and reflection on the Spirit’s presence, the focused energy can have a calming effect with glimmers of hope, as undefined options begin to emerge.

Stage Two, yearning, searching and desiring for what has been lost moves beyond denial and often includes the impetus or the temptation to bargain for change regarding what has been or is about to be absent. The Spirit is called upon to change the situation back to the way it was, or even to find a better option. For instance, due to an economic situation, if a person is about to lose a job, the temptation might be to bargain and negotiate for a lower salary or work schedule in order to regain the position. Or a grandmother of five grandchildren, whose mother has terminal cancer, might express a desire for her own life to be taken, so the children would still have their mother. Or in an inner city, a high school junior, Mike, returns his new bike with all the latest gadgets etc., to the store where his relatives bought it for his 16 th birthday and asks for three smaller bikes in return. (He wanted to share them with the 6 “little kids” in the neighborhood that did not have bikes.) The store manager said he would trade the new bigger bike for two bikes but not three. Mike told him what his plan was for the small bikes but the manager still did not budge on the deal. Then Mike got an idea, another bargaining chip, which the manager might go for: what if he added that he would sweep out the store for 30 minutes on weekdays and an hour on Saturday for seven months? Would that be acceptable? The manager went along with that and the bargain was sealed.  Notice how Mike was energized by sharing, which diminished (not eliminated) any pain of the loss of his highly valued bike.

Stage Three, experiencing anger, depression or various emotional anxieties, stresses or a sense of disorganization, failure, loneliness, or “blaming God” or others are samples of distressing situations which reflect the third stage of grief. Anger and depression are all encompassing and life consuming. While it seems contradictory, this stage of grief with all its sadness, can truly offer insights and give the energy and knowledge needed to recognize the broader gifts and elements of pathways to new life. One of the worst expressions to hear at this stage is, “snap out of it.” Grieving takes time and it takes courage. It takes confidence that calling on the Spirit for new energies and understandings will be a reality. It is very “healthy” to go through this stage of grieving because it gives opportunities for renewed courage, clear perceptions, and deeper knowledge. This phase in dealing with loss provides time to reflect and begin to see more signs of hope.

Stage Four, recovery is rooted in acknowledgment of the loss and the acceptance of it in some form. This is critical to being able to move on. While everyone experiences loss and grief differently, so is the process of recovering from the loss unique. Gradually difficult emotional times begin to diminish. If the grief is related to losing a loved one, keeping the memory of the person alive is important. Some make the mistake of “hiding gifts, photos and other memorabilia” to lessen the grief. On the contrary these measures will only prevent the healthy grieving process and they can have unhealthy consequences. Recovery is related to transformation, and for transformation to energize us we need to recognize it. 

It should be noted that in the description of these phases, while organized separately for over-all clarity, they are not rigid. They are porous with a sense of fluidity. New elements related to the first stage or new insights may arise throughout the process. A new memory or new information about a person or event could shed additional understandings into the issues…and these could come at Stage Three! Sometimes a new prognosis or understanding at Stage Four will solve issues that arose at Phase Two in the process. We often try to avoid loss or sorrow or grief, at all costs, especially in the “heat of the moment.” Given time to “calm down” and reflect on the situation in the “bigger picture,” we begin to see the value of dealing in healthy ways with loss and grief especially through some positive lenses.

Some of the positive values, opportunities and energies that emanate from healthy grieving include:

1.    Grieving offers many opportunities to deepen relationships.
  • Deeper sharing naturally occurs
  • Sharing strengthens relationships
  • Sharing and bonding diminishes facing loss alone

2.    Grieving loss provides occasions for new discoveries about one’s self, others, the community.
Natural questions which are not part of most daily conversations emerge when dealing with loss such as: 
  • What is the meaning and purpose of life?
  • What do/can I contribute to the life of others? Family life? Communal life? Local, National, International life?
  • What are the gifts I need to acquire or further develop? 
  • In what ways can I empower others? What do I need to do to be energized to make a positive difference?

3.    Grieving can lead to new awareness of the presence of the Spirit which permeates existence
     You might consider avoiding “catch-all” religious phrases or images such as “God will take care of everything,” and focus on becoming more aware of the Spirit’s challenging and consoling presence in daily life experiences—in other words “God in Action!” Some samples include:
  • someone, you hardly know reached out to you;
  • you experienced a deeper sense of caring community;
  • prayer and reflection took on new and deeper meaning and an increased desire to make it habitual;
  • you become more aware of how your life is being transformed.

4.    Grieving, seen as a process, can increase our understanding of change, from an individual, communal, national, global perspective.
  • Reflect on the stages of grieving and assess where your experiences reflect any aspect of the stages. Share these with a friend for his/her insights.
  • Reflect on what has been most difficult for you as you review the stages of grieving.
  • What can you do for yourself or for/with others to journey together
  • What are the first steps you will take?

From a Christian perspective, what we have been reflecting upon is the “Life-Death-Resurrection” mystery. Christ, by his life, death and coming to new life modeled for us how to recognize the Spirit’s presence in all of life. He attuned us to the Spirit, the ultimate source of divine energy, by the way he lived his everyday life, walking with friends, reaching out to those in need, lending a hand when it was crucial, embracing those whom “society” rejected, sharing home-cooked meals, etc.

Jesus modeled the experience of hope, confidence, energy and belief that all creation is permeated with the Spirit. As the Jesuit Theologian, Teilhard de Chardin reminds us, “By reason of creation and even more the incarnation, nothing is profane for those who know how to see.” Jesus helps us to “see.” We find in Jesus’ life journey patterns of grieving which help us to recognize the Spirit. The grieving process helps us to realize that “there is more to life than meets the eye.” The process gives us opportunities to be conscious of the Spirit permeating all of life. One analogy akin to this was shared by Matthew Fox. He said “the fish is in the water and the water is in the fish.” Grieving helps us realize that the Spirit is in us and we are in the Spirit.

Maureen Gallagher is a Partner and Senior Consultant with The Reid Group, a national consulting firm providing services in Executive Search, Leadership Development, Strategic Planning, and Conflict Management to nonprofit and faith-based organizations. 

© 2018 The Reid Group
Strengthening Board Development

By Tom Reid, Senior Consultant

Is your council or board working at high or low impact? Recently I read a book: Forces for Good: Six Practices of High Impact Nonprofits by Leslie R. Crutchfield & Heather McLeod Grant.

In my experience as an organizational and fundraising consultant I have more often encountered boards operating below their potential. In reading Forces for Good I was reminded of practices that will help councils and boards increase their impact and effectiveness.

Here is a Top Ten list of nuggets.

Organizations seeking greater impact must learn how to do the following:

1.    Adapt to the changing environment and be as innovative and nimble as they are strategic.
2.    Share leadership, empowering others to be forces for good.
3.    Develop the mindset and sharpen the focus on outcomes and results.
4.    Foster integration and collaboration between and among the various areas of the board’s work. (Leadership, Governance, Strategy, Programs, Development, Marketing).
5.    Remember that gmGreat social sector organizations do six things:
  • Advocate and serve
  • Make markets work
  • Inspire evangelists
  • Nurture nonprofit networks
  • Master the art of adaptation
  • Share leadership
6.    Turn outsiders (supporters) into evangelists
7.    Build larger communities of supporters
8.    Balance the forces of “Free Spirits” and Structure, balancing freedom and discipline. “Movements don’t last. Organizations do.”
9.    Evaluate and learn what works: enhance opportunities for program evaluation and learning as an organization
  • Modify programs as appropriate
  • Successful nonprofits focus on what not to do
  • Asking important questions:
What are we good at?
Where can we have the most impact?
Is anyone else already doing this?
10. Promote Shared Leadership
  • Ability to project stability and continuity beyond the founder
  • Organizations in the research cited lack of talent as the second most important barrier to growing their organization and expanding their impact, just after lack of funding
  • To expand leadership capacity, organizations must not only develop individuals, but also develop the leadership of collectives (e.g. work groups, teams, and communities)
  • Empower your executive team
  • Develop a succession plan
  • Build a big and strategic board

At The Reid Group we help leaders and organizations to be more effective. I f you are looking for help with developing your team or board or need assistance with meeting design and facilitation please email us at or call Tom Reid at 206-947-2990 

Living Whole Life Message

As you may know in addition to Tom Reid’s work in The Reid Group he is also the creator of Living Whole Life (LWL), which is focused on living your whole life well, as best you can. LWL is focused on small business professionals and entrepreneurs. You can find Tom at  or email him at

The Art of Change
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.
Organizations 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.
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Sustainable Future Audit Tool
The Reid Group focuses on helping organizations transform challenges into opportunities to enhance their sustainability. We have developed a tool to help organizations identify their challenges in six areas that are key for a sustainable future.

For a free copy of the Sustainable Future Audit Tool, you can download it from our web site or send us an e-mail at . After employing the audit tool, contact us for a complimentary strategy session for assuring your sustainable future.