Pathfinder Services’ culture taking new direction

Michael Smull (upper right), of Support Development Associates, leads a session of training for Pathfinder Services employees. The organization is focusing on developing person-centered thinking, planning and practices for its staff.
Michael Smull (upper right), of Support Development Associates, leads a session of training for Pathfinder Services employees. The organization is focusing on developing person-centered thinking, planning and practices for its staff. Photo provided.

Pathfinder Services is working with Support Development Associates (SDA) to train employees at all levels of the organization in person-centered thinking, planning and practices.

This long-term commitment examines the organizational culture and shifts it into one of accountability, learning and partnership. This process will allow Pathfinder Services to focus on the mission of the agency, which is to strengthen communities by supporting people facing physical, developmental or economic challenges to achieve independence, inclusion and stability.“We are always looking for ways to enhance our skills and better fulfill the needs of the people we serve,” says John Niederman, president and CEO of Pathfinder Services. “Training like this, that focuses on the person, is crucial for our employees and what they do in their profession every single day.”

SDA will empower and support employees at Pathfinder Services as they acquire the skills to effectively listen to each other and to each person they serve, change the structure and processes to provide the best supports possible, and encourage effective internal relationships and external partnerships so those they serve have access to the best resources available.

“We help bring organizations back to the core of their mission,” says Bob Sattler, partner at Support Development Associates. “We teach people how to emphasize and bring more focus to the gifts and the abilities of those they serve.”

The person-centered thinking effort is designed as an ongoing organizational transformation. Knowing that it takes time to become a truly person-centered organization, SDA and Pathfinder Services leaders have put together a three-year implementation plan for the agency.

The core group of 80, which includes employees, board members and people supported by the agency, will bring what they learn in the person-centered training back to the nearly 400 other employees at Pathfinder Services.