How to Kill the Status Quo

Dale Dauten innovator labThis session at ALSHRM was amazing. It was unlike the rest of the day. No slides, just a conversation among the attendees and speaker, Dale Dauten. Below you’ll find a kind of stream-of-consciousness post full of great quotes and thought-provoking ideas. Enjoy!

Dale did a little prep work before the session by polling the attendees. That opened up some great discussions during his time with us, such as the poll question “What do you like least about your work/job?”

  • Too much work
  • Getting stuck as “the compliance person”
  • Left out of the loop on big decisions

That led to a chilling (and probably true) comment: What do executives say about HR when they are not in the room?


That’s because we are perceived as an overhead cost and “in the way” of real work.

Dale used the term “gradual day” to describe one we all face on a weekly basis. These are the days that wear and weaken our spirits due to steadily increasing problems and issues. These should not be the norm.

Next time you are buried under a mound of work with no end in sight and a manager walks into your office asking you to talk with one of his/her employees, refuse/redirect them. Don’t keep taking on work that is their job, because it will burn you out and you never get out of the same old rut you’re stuck in with too much work and too little time. If it’s remotely possible, refuse the problem. Yes, it’s crazy,  but it is necessary!


Taking the time to critique someone and offer feedback shows that you care enough to invest time in them. Managers should remember this every single day. It might be a burden on you to take time to provide feedback to every one of your people, but it is what you get paid for. Want your people to feel appreciated? Pay attention to them in the form of positive critical feedback.

Help your managers get the most out of people. You don’t have to know how to do the employees’ jobs, you just need to know what to measure against. Find a credible standard for greatness and hold people to it.


Quote of the day: HR gets two options when it comes to bad policies. Enforce it and be a jerk or ignore it and be a hypocrite. (Although I think there’s a third option, which is getting rid of bad policies altogether. But that’s a post for another day.)

My favorite part

If you know me at all, you know I’m a big fan of HR as the keeper of the culture at work. We nurture it, communicate it, and share it often (especially with new employees). One of Dale’s recommendations was to develop a list of touchstones (short sayings full of wisdom). HR should become the keeper of the touchstones in the organization. It lets you share wisdom across the board and make a lasting impact.

The concept is interesting, because I’ve been doing something similar already at work. We have little sayings in our vocabulary that I have started incorporating into the new hire orientations and onboarding process to help new employees learn more about what we value. I love HR as the keeper of the culture/touchstones, and I’m looking forward to writing more on it in the future.

All in all, it was an amazing session and I’m thrilled Dale came to speak with us!

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