Phi Delta Theta – Turning a Project Around

by Chris Buck

If you have never done a fraternity or sorority expansion/extension, I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s a lot of work. An expansion typically consists of long days, hours of meetings, presentations, and what can feel like endless rejection. When all of these are working in conjunction, it is easy to get discouraged or pushed off course.

28576834_802332606642485_3301623920223839022_nIn January, Kyle Prager and Landon Killion jumped in their cars and traveled to California State University, Sacramento to start a new colony of Phi Delta Theta. For Kyle, this was his first expansion project; he graduated a few days earlier and was off to start is career. What he didn’t know is that over the course of an eight-week period, the team would meet adversity and have to make a choice of how to respond. Should they pack their bags and call it quits, or take their struggle as an opportunity to assess and grow?

Kyle remembers how excited he was going into his first expansion project, especially after seeing how well Tau Kappa Epsilon did when they colonized a Sac State. Kyle and Landon they had some leads going into the project and felt good about signing some people right away. In fact, they signed ten men in week one!

Week two was also just as good with the men seeing eight more bids accepted. These two Phi Delta Theta staff members they were proud of how the colonization started. However, when week three arrived the momentum stopped. They ran out of names to follow up with.

Kyle was concerned. His more seasoned teammate reassured him that they had some organization presentations coming up, so they would get some leads from those. But when the first presentation only yielded 12 names,  they knew they were in trouble.

In order for Phi Delta Theta to colonize, they needed a minimum of 25 men. This colony was only at 16 men, as some men ended up dropping, and they didn’t have enough leads to generate the interest for the remaining nine spots required. Despite the bleak outlook, Kyle and Landon they didn’t want to let the men who joined the colony down.

“This is when we decided to rethink how we were approaching this campus and the expansion process,” Kyle shared.

Woody Woodcock (Vice President of Coaching for TechniPhi’s sister company, Phired Up) made a trip to Sacramento to assist the men in determining what what happening with their project and to help the team turn it around. “It was great having Woody come, he watched us roll calls and then provided some great advice on how to improve,” Kyle shared.

Kyle mentioned that they way they approached expansion was not focused enough on relationships. Woody helped them see that when making an initial contact with a potential new member, that you need to focus on getting to know them and how their experience at Sac State has been so far.

“After adopting this approach, my meetings increased by 4x the amount they were before,” said Kyle. He shared that another thing that really helped turned it around was shifting his focus to his key performance indicators, or KPIs. “Woody told me to make every day my personal best at rolling calls, booking meetings, writing notes, etc., and by doing this, success would come.”

Woody showed them how to use ChapterBuilder to track their daily performance and achievements based on these KPIs. They began employing the feedback they got from Woody and the results followed. The men started having bids accepted again, and the colony grew. “We were getting towards the end of the project, and the colony president came up to me and said, ‘What if we don’t hit 25? What will happen?’” said Kyle. “This was when I knew we had to get this project across the finish line.”

The highlight of this project for Kyle was getting to his first colonization ceremony as the colony recruited 26 men. He said, “It was awesome seeing that ceremony and seeing the similes on all of the guys faces. I remember thinking, we gave these guys Phi Delt, and they are going to get to share it with more guys on campus.”

When asked what the biggest lesson Kyle learned during his first expansion project, he said, “It’s about relationships, not recruiting.”

No expansion project is going to be perfect; you can’t control every factor. The only thing you can control is you – how you respond to obstacles, and the effort you are putting in each day. So, when the road gets rough, remember what Bo Bennett, an accomplished American businessman, had to say about rejection, “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.”

Looking for success in your recruitment or expansion projects? ChapterBuilder can help! Email me at to find out more about how we can power your growth efforts through our innovative technology.