Bruce Tulgan | Founder of RainmakerThinking, Inc. and Top Expert on Leadership Development and Generational Issues in the Workplace

Bruce Tulgan

Founder of RainmakerThinking, Inc. and Top Expert on Leadership Development and Generational Issues in the Workplace

Bruce Tulgan

Bruce Tulgan is an adviser to business leaders all over the world and a sought-after keynote speaker and seminar leader. He is the founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a management research and training firm, as well as RainmakerLearning, an online training resource. Bruce is the best-selling author of numerous books including Not Everyone Gets a Trophy (Revised & Updated, 2016), Bridging the Soft Skills Gap (Revised & Updated 2022), The 27 Challenges Managers Face (2014), and It’s Okay to be the Boss (Revised & Updated, 2014). His newest book, The Art of Being Indispensable at Work, is available now from Harvard Business Review Press.

Bruce lectures at the Yale Graduate School of Management, as well as other academic institutions. He has written for the New York Times,

the Harvard Business Review, HR Magazine, and writes regularly for Training Magazine,, and Psychology Today.

Since 1995, Bruce has worked with tens of thousands of leaders and managers in hundreds of organizations. In recent years, Bruce was named by Management Today as one of the few contemporary figures to stand out as a “management guru” and he was named to the 2009 Thinkers50 Rising Star list. On August 13, 2009, Bruce was honored to accept Toastmasters International’s most prestigious honor, the Golden Gavel. Bruce is a lifelong practitioner of Okinawan Uechi Ryu Karate Do and holds a seventh degree black belt, making him a Kyoshi master in that style. He lives in New Haven, CT with his wife Debby Applegate, Ph.D., who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for her book The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (Doubleday, 2006). Her new book, Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age, is available now from Doubleday.

View Full Profile

Fight Overcommitment Syndrome
Learn the Proven Best Practices for Saying “yes” and “no” at Work

Everyone at work is collaborating with lots more people than ever before. New tasks, projects, responsibilities, and opportunities come at us every single day. The truth is, everyone wants to be able to depend on each other and deliver for each other. But nobody can do everything for everybody. Too often, people overpromise, underdeliver—and burnout. That’s when siege mentality sets in: as individuals begin to resist collaboration, teamwork stalls and productivity suffers. One person’s burnout can have HUGE effects!

Navigating collaborative relationships—and the many demands on our time—is not going away. Overcommitting ourselves is not a sustainable solution for us, our teams, or our organizations. What does work? Adopting a true service mindset. That means delivering on what you promise by only saying “yes” to the best asks and the right opportunities.

Now more than ever, it takes extra savvy and skill to manage yourself, your many working relationships, and all the competing demands on your time and talent. But it’s not just about when to say “no”, it’s about how to say “yes”—a service mindset.

In this program, Bruce draws on decades of research, sharing true stories from real people, in real workplaces, in the real world, blending humor, insight, and concrete best-practices to show participants how to fight overcommitment syndrome. Participants will walk away as better collaborators, better prepared to avoid burnout and deliver great results.


  • What overcommitment syndrome and siege mentality look like—the things most people identify as burnout
  • Why adopting a true service mindset is not about saying “yes” to everyone and everything at work
  • How carefully choosing “yes” and “no” can build you a better reputation in your organization
  • The importance of aligning—up, down, and sideways—to ensure you’re not the one who ends up overcommitted


  • Adopting a service mindset that boosts your reputation at work, rather than damage it
  • When to say “no” and how to say “yes”
  • Executing one thing at a time, not juggling
  • Utilizing to-do lists and schedules to break work into doable chunks and find gaps for focused execution time
  • Maintaining alignment up, down, sideways and diagonal
  • Finding and building up Go-to People, when and where you need them

Back-To-Fundamentals Collaboration
Skills for Establishing Extreme Alignment on Your Team

Everyone at work is collaborating with lots more people than ever before. Not just those working alongside them, but all over the organization chart—up, down, sideways, and diagonal. The truth is, everyone wants to be able to depend on each other and deliver for each other. But when no one has the authority to require others to get things done, how are we supposed to deliver consistent results and maintain high performance?

Rather than escalating conflicts to a manager, resisting those conflicts and remaining frozen, or “proceeding until apprehended”, collaborate the right way: by aligning up, down, sideways, and diagonal.

The ad hoc, unstructured, as-needed communication typical of the collaboration revolution often breeds unnecessary problems that get out of control—leading to delays, errors, and plenty of relationship damage. Extreme alignment is the solution.

In this program, Bruce distills the proven best practices of real people, collaborating in the real world, into guidelines for communication that will revolutionize how you and your team work together. Drawing on decades of research into the habits and systems of successful people in highly-collaborative roles, Bruce equips teams with simple but powerful strategies for staying aligned, no matter where each person falls on the organization chart.


  • What The Authority Conundrum is, why it happens, and how it stalls productivity, damaging working relationships over time
  • The importance of alignment in today’s workplace—whether working as part of a team or as an “independent” contributor
  • Why establishing alignment helps build true accountability by turning it into a process, not a slogan
  • How to “work things out at their own level” and “take charge” without bribing, coercing, bullying, or overstepping their role


  • Aligning vertically, before going sideways or diagonal
  • “Going over your own head” at every step, through regular structured dialogue
  • Putting more structure and substance into ad hoc, unstructured communication
  • Dealing with interrupters and distractors
  • Having better meetings and being a great meeting citizen
  • Managing relationships in every direction on the organization chart: up, down, sideways, and diagonal

Managing Remotely
When the Workplace is No Longer a Place

Suddenly, everything’s turned upside-down. Where we work, when we work, how we relate to our bosses, to our people—it’s all in flux.

The most successful organizations and managers will design their futures and lead the way. They will be highly intentional and strategic about this sea change occurring in the work of managing work. They will acknowledge and understand the impact of what’s being lost— that intangible but oh-so-critical human factor—in order to address it. They will see that what matters today is, first, how we do what kinds of work and, second, when we do it.

Where we do it comes last.

Something valuable is lost when you and your colleagues work apart. Proximity does matter. Working remotely, you are missing a lot of unintentional soft data exchange; spontaneous interaction; and serendipitous value creation.

In this program, Bruce draws on decades of research and observation, to answer the most common and pressing questions about the new realities of working remotely:

  • What will organizations look like?
  • How will company culture be communicated and lived?
  • How will we handle the basic work of management—staffing, performance management, and development?


  • How remote work exacerbates the complications of interdependent, high-collaboration work
  • How remote work offers an opportunity for managers and organizations to take systems, practices, and competencies to a higher level
  • Why place and time matter less and less as the currency of work becomes what value you can add
  • Why even the most critical communication can be accomplished asynchronously


  • Communicating with intention and cadence
  • Coordinating the logistics of work and communication, while keeping the focus on results
  • Hybrid-style management, where working and communicating together onsite is the exception, not the rule
  • Mastering the three key aspects of managing in the new remote reality of work: staffing strategies; performance management; and employee development
  • Translating the fundamentals of strong, highly-engaged management to remote work
  • Conducting strong virtual meetings with teams and one-on-one
  • How to impart intangibles such as culture and attitude through strong, highly-engaged management

Fight the Undermanagement Epidemic
How to Build a Culture of Strong Leadership

If your managers are like most, they are stuck in a vicious cycle of undermanagement… and it’s likely they don’t even realize it.

Undermanagement is hiding in plain sight in nearly every workplace. Despite all the meetings and metrics surrounding everybody at work these days, nine out of ten managers struggle to practice the fundamentals of leadership. They don’t provide employees with regular high-structure, high-substance guidance, direction, support, and coaching. As a result, unnecessary problems occur and problems get out of control. That’s why most managers spend so much time in firefighting mode. Then they are even more convinced that they don’t have enough time to practice the fundamentals.

What is undermanagement and how can you recognize it in your organization or team?

What are the costs of undermanagement?

Why is it getting so much harder to manage people today?

What are the most common myths that keep managers from taking a more highly-engaged approach?

How can you break the vicious cycle of undermanagement?

In this program, Bruce Tulgan answers these questions and more, drawing on decades of workplace research and sharing true stories from real managers. With a blend of humor, insight, and concrete best practices, Bruce teaches leaders how to fight the undermanagement epidemic and start building a culture of strong, highly-engaged leadership.


  • The eight costs of undermanagement that lead right to the bottom line
  • The seven myths that prevent most managers from being highly-engaged with direct reports
  • Exactly what employees need from managers in order to succeed
  • Exactly what managers need from senior executives in order to deliver what their employees need
  • Strategies, options and next steps


  • Understanding and identifying the signs, symptoms, and effects of undermanagement in your organization
  • Identifying the specific challenges managers are facing in the real world today
  • Regular high-structure, high-substance, coaching-style management
  • The most effective ways to help managers learn, embrace, and adopt the best practices of highly-engaged management
  • Making a systematic commitment to proven best practices at every level

Bruce Tulgan
Featured Reviews

Get more details and availability

Bruce Tulgan

Give us some basic details about you and your upcoming event, and one of our experts will be in touch with you quickly regarding pricing and availability.
Event Details
Your Details
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.