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A message from Dale Dauten to anyone planning a meeting...

I'd like to offer you a one-word goal for your next meeting: PROVOCATIVE

Think of this: if you don't provoke people to work differently, what's the point of the meeting?

Let me help you put on that kind of event, one with ideas people will quote and use and look back upon as a turning point in their work.

For nearly two decades I've been writing syndicated newspaper columns, which means that twice a week, every week, I'm writing about people who are doing something new and suprising, and I work to tell their stories in ways that provoke people to think and laugh and rethink. I've gotten pretty good at "provocative."

I'd be pleased to talk with you about creating a turning-point meeting. For now, I've described the ways we might work together, based on how provocative you dare to be.

- Dale Dauten


Mandatory Greatness: The 12 Laws of Driving Exceptional Performance

– Ideal for Opening Keynote or General Session –

"He got me to do more than I thought possible."
"She thought more of me than I thought of myself and I had to rise up to meet her expectations. "
"She simply would NOT let us fail – we worked miracles for her."

It's a rare skill when someone can demand the most of you in such a way that you love them for it. When Dale studied such leaders he came up with a startling concept: Mandatory Greatness. With the help of J.T. O'Donnell, he has written an important new book by the same name.

Dale uses that term to challenge managers to rethink their leadership, to teach people to get comfortable with asking their teams for more. Dale has concluded that most managers are "inadvertent wimps." They call it being "positive" but it's really just telling people what they want to hear, setting goals they know they can reach.

Target Audience:

Management, Sr. Level Leadership, Owners (Franchise, Small Business, or Branch leaders), Entrepreneur Groups, or other leadership/supervisory groups within corporate, associations or not-for-profits

Lovable Hardass

The Gifted Boss

– Ideal as Keynote or Working Session –

Gifted Boss Book

What do America's best bosses know that you don't? In this unique program, Dale offers surprising answers. Having studied hundreds of great managers and executives – the ones he calls "gifted bosses" – he will explain how they THINK, WORK AND COMMUNICATE DIFFERENTLY.

Working without PowerPoint, flip charts or any other distractions, Dale teaches heart-to-heart the wisdom of gifted bosses, walking through the audience and inviting comments, stories and disagreements.


  • We live in what Dale calls The Time of No Time and he will pass along the techniques the best managers use to find the time and energy to experiment and innovate.
  • You'll learn "the secret skill" of getting mediocre employees to up their performance (or move on), part of creating "the best place for the best people."
  • You'll be offered the encapsulated wisdom of the country's best bosses, including the language they use to change the conversation and get employees talking about ideas and experiments. "The conversation IS the culture."

Target Audience:

Management, those in line for management, team leaders, business owners, franchise owners, association leadership, even students hoping to be in leadership

How to Enjoy Killing the Status Quo

– Ideal for General Session or Working Session/Breakout –

Warrior Mask

Dale has also studied "gifted colleagues," the people who are so good at what they do they elevate the standards of everyone around them. You'll encounter surprising conclusions about "organizational energy flows," and the amazing leverage of "circles of helping." One executive was so enthused by hearing Dale speak to his managers that he took the microphone and announced, "Before anyone leaves today, I want you to write down three things you are going to do differently because of this meeting. I'll want you to give me a copy, because I'm going to call you and follow-up." There was no grumbling, no resistance, because Dale had created that special energy where everyone was eager to put new ideas to use, to "Think like a hero; work like an artist."

Target Audience:

All-employee meetings, associations, retreats -- any audience that needs to be primed for change or needs to have their traditional thinking/methods challenged

The Curious Case of the Dead Idea (and Other Business Mysteries)

– Ideal as Closing (maybe opening) Keynote or General Session –

One of Dale's clients challenged him with this request: "People at our meeting are going to be tired and overwhelmed with data. We need something that will be entertaining while getting them excited about making use of all the information they've gotten." Dale's response was to build a presentation around intriguing case studies that confound the usual business logic. His goal is to get the audience empowered to think illogically as well. The Journey: as the "mysteries" become "the logic of high-achievers," the audience leaves eager to try their new way of thinking.

Target Audience:

All-employee meetings, associations, retreats -- any audience that needs to be primed for change or needs to have their traditional thinking/methods challenged

Innovators' Lab

– An opportunity to change the culture within your organizations. We come in, help you create your own Innovators' Lab and build an "idea infrastructure" in your organization...

Comprehensive Professional Development Program


Originally developed for The Blue Moon Project at NASA's fabled Johnson Space Center in Houston, Dale Dauten and Paula Wigboldy will help you create a vibrant innovation-oriented culture by:

  • recruiting people who want to be part of innovation teams,
  • providing the recruits with an Innovation tools, techniques and coaching sessions,
  • working with them to develop "idea infrastructure" (they help design it, so they "own it"),
  • and coaching them on implementation.

The package includes a license to use The Innovators' Lab¨ name and artwork, including our beloved "flying brain"

The process typically takes 4-6 months. A train-the-trainer option is also available.

Target Audience:

This is a program to change the culture to be more innovative. It can elevate an entire organization or one or more pieces -- a division, department, field operation, or headquarters staff.

Click here for more information on Innovators' Lab

Why Dale Dauten?

He brings tested ideas from outside your industry, having learned first-hand from provocative thinkers that range...

  • From past business giants like Andy Grove and Dave Thomas To infomercial legend Tony Little;
  • From The Chairman of P&G, A.G. Lafley, To leaders of innovation teams, like Kim Gravell of Cardinal Health
  • From Coaching greats like John Wooden and Lou Holtz; to Tony Hseih, the head of online superstore Zappo's.
  • All have opened up to Dale for his syndicated business and career columns, as have hundreds of others.

The programs are not just customized, they are "inside your head" relevant –

  • Dale's speeches don't just feature the people he's interviewed or consulted with, but people and ideas from your group.
  • Dale will invite you to send a brief questionnaire to your attendees. He'll work WITH your group FOR your group!

He energizes and inspires his audiences with encouragement to experiment, to challenge the norm, and to look for better solutions for the organization and its customers.

For more information on these speeches, please e-mail Paula Wigboldy. Or call her at 480-785-2886.

Meeting Planners -- Click to download a photo and bio – three options of each to choose the one that best fits your program:

Dale Photo 1 Dale Photo 3 Dale Photo 2