TI's 2009 Golden Gavel Recipient: Bruce Tulgan

TI's 2009 Golden Gavel Recipient: Bruce Tulgan

In recognition of his influence in the areas of leadership and management, as well as his skills as a communicator, Toastmasters International is pleased to present the organization’s most prestigious honor – the annual Golden Gavel Award – to best-selling author and management trainer Bruce Tulgan.

The New Haven, Connecticut, resident is considered one of the world’s top experts on the subject of young people in the workplace. As the founder and chairman of RainmakerThinking, Tulgan has helped thousands of companies get the most from their employees. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, published around the world in different languages, including Managing Generation X, and the recent best-seller It’s Okay to be the Boss. His newest book, Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y (Jossey-Bass), was released in March.

Tulgan is also a popular and compelling speaker; he shares his expertise in Webinars and presentations to international business leaders and managers of big-name organizations, ranging from Aetna to Wal-Mart to the YMCA.

Few people know Tulgan better than Jeff Coombs, a co-founder of RainmakerThinking who runs the company’s business operations. The two met in 1983, when both served as pages for the United States House of Representatives. They became fast friends and 10 years later formed RainmakerThinking. Tulgan’s gift for helping people reach their full potential started with his own work team.

“I’ve never met anyone who gets more enjoyment out of the personal triumphs of other people,” Coombs says. “Bruce has developed strong insights into the area of leadership and management because he’s passionate about those subjects and the extensive research we conduct. But he also asks hundreds of people every month about their experiences in the workplace and he’s an excellent listener.”

In his books, Tulgan shares his insights on how to motivate, manage and communicate with employees. For example, in an interview on ypulse.com  regarding his new book about Generation Y – defined as those born between 1978 and 1990 – Tulgan says, “The so-called ‘experts’ have got it all wrong. [They} argue that, since Gen Yers have always gotten a trophy just for showing up, maybe the best way to manage them is to give them lots of praise and basically, give them a trophy just for showing up.”

In contrast, Tulgan’s carefully researched advice is to skip the “thank you programs, praise programs and reward programs.” He says, “The high-maintenance Generation Y workforce calls for strong leadership, not weak.”

Young employees need realistic expectations and “strong, highly-engaged management,” Tulgan says. “Give them boundaries and structure, negotiate rewards in small increments and help them earn things they need and want. Spell out the rules of the workplace in vivid detail so Gen Yers can play that job like a video game: If you want A, you have to do B. If you want C, you have to D.”

If they do, Tulgan says, managers will be rewarded with “the highest-performing workforce in history.”

Tulgan holds a fourth-degree black belt in karate and is married to author Debby Applegate, who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her biography of Henry Ward Beecher. Tulgan practiced law at a Wall Street firm before founding RainmakerThinking in 1993.


Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Bruce Tulgan speak at the Golden Gavel Luncheon on August 13 at the Toastmasters International Convention in Mashantucket, Connecticut. For Convention details and registration forms, please visit toastmasters.org/2009Convention.

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