As an organization that serves troubled teens in North Dakota, Charles Hall Youth Services faces plenty of challenges every day.
The last thing the agency needed when its leaders sought a management consultant was someone who would come in and tell them everything they were doing wrong.
Enter Daniel Pryfogle, director of consulting services for CHHSM, with a unique proposal for board members, executives and staff during a four-day visit in October: for the agency to improve, it had to hone in on what it was doing right.
Pryfogle's approach is a positive style of engagement that focuses on "mining for strengths" -- finding what is already working within a group and building upon those assets. The approach fit perfectly with Charles Hall's efforts during the last four years to change its programming to emphasize the strengths and resiliency of the youth they serve.
Pryfogle's appreciative, strength-based method embodies CHHSM's consulting services, through which skilled facilitators assist members with culture formation, board development, team-building, program evaluation, fund development, marketing and communications.
For the Charles Hall board, Pryfogle's challenge was to encourage greater engagement by board members, to help them discover through a two-day retreat "who we were as a board and what our function was," says Board Chair Mike Jensen. "We are people from a variety of backgrounds, some of whom came from hands-on boards and others that were rubber-stamp boards."
Board members also come from distant locations across the state, which limits contact outside the meetings, Jensen says. Pryfogle's work with the board helped members connect in ways they hadn't before.
"If I were to pick a two-word description that really fits what Daniel did, I'd choose 'community building,'" Jensen says.
Using the organizational development tool Appreciative Inquiry, plus spiritual and creative practices, Pryfogle drew out board members' passion for service and heightened awareness of when their service is most meaningful and most effective.
"With the board, my job was to help them see that their best moments involved collective decision-making," Pryfogle says. "Board members were not happy in a passive role, but I think it took this retreat for them to see that they were capable of changing things up and making it more meaningful for themselves. And they left inspired."
Jensen agrees. "The process left us with some concrete ideas of who we wanted to be as a board and how we wanted to proceed. Otherwise we're just spinning our wheels."
The visit also bore fruit for staff on both the executive and supervisory levels.
"Daniel has a unique way of tackling tension, conflict and challenge with a heavy dose of solution-oriented thinking and reframing," says Dan Foster, Charles Hall's director of programs. "He uses terms such as abundance, appreciation and energy."
This was Pryfogle's second visit to Charles Hall. In April, he worked with executive staff and supervisors on team-building and was the keynote speaker for Charles Hall's annual donor luncheon.
"I think with the staff training part of his visit, Daniel has a unique ability to cut through to the real issue behind what's going on and do so in a very tactful way," says Gayle Klopp, co-executive director of Charles Hall. "He then comes up with some real useful and workable ways to address those issues. And everybody always feels good after his training no matter who they are."
To learn more about CHHSM's consulting services, contact Daniel Pryfogle at 919-460-7069 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.