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Aug 3, 2015

Countdown to Bridging the Soft Skills Gap!

From Bruce

Well, it’s August – just one more month until the release of my newest book: BRIDGING THE SOFT SKILLS GAP: HOW TO TEACH THE MISSING BASICS TO TODAY’S YOUNG TALENT to be released by Wiley/JosseyBass September 8. The countdown has begun!

Please allow me to give you a little preview…

Part one of the book takes apart the problem – the number one challenge when it comes to managing Millennials today – the growing soft skills gap among today’s emerging young workforce. The first chapters explain the problem and its causes as well as considering the leading solutions being attempted by leaders and managers seeking to address the issues:

  • PROLOGUE: Meet the Newest New Young Workforce: Generation Z
  • CHAPTER ONE: The Soft Skills Gap
  • CHAPTER TWO: You Can’t Hire Your Way Around the Soft Skills Gap
  • CHAPTER THREE: Unlocking the Power of Soft Skills

Part two of the book is dedicated to helping managers actually teach the missing basics — complete with step-by-step lesson plans. The missing basics are organized into chapters based on the three old-fashioned basics that are most often missing:

  • CHAPTER FOUR: How to Teach the Missing Basics of Professionalism to Today’s Young Talent
  • CHAPTER FIVE: How to Teach the Missing Basics of Critical Thinking to Today’s Young Talent
  • CHAPTER SIX: How to Teach the Missing Basics of Followership to Today’s Young Talent

Our research and proven approach has shown that the key to teaching young people the missing soft skills lies in breaking down the critical soft skills into their component parts; concentrating on one small component at a time; with the help of a teaching-style manager. Almost all of the exercises in the book can be done in less than an hour within a team meeting or an extended one-on-one. The exercises are easily modified and customized and can be used in many different ways:

  • as “take-home” exercises to any individual or group;
  • to guide one-on-one discussions with direct-reports;
  • in the classroom as written exercises or as group discussions.

If the soft skills gap among today’s newest new young talent is an issue you are facing right now, then I hope you will consider pre-ordering the book! Wait: I would be honored if you would consider pre-ordering the book.

Thank you so much for considering it.

Stay strong!



What do young people have to say about the widely perceived widening soft skills gap? Mostly they say, “That’s so true about my friends and me!” or else “Seriously?!” and then, either way, “So what?!”

To that, I usually respond, “Well, it drives the grown-ups crazy and it’s holding you back. If you were to radically improve on these soft skills, it would give you a huge strategic advantage in your career.” The good news is that this is almost always enough explanation to capture their attention and interest in improving.

What do business leaders and managers say when I tell them how they can lead their new young talent through the growing soft skills gap? Often the first response is something like this response from a longtime partner in a large accounting/consulting firm, “This should NOT be our problem to solve! Shouldn’t they have already learned all these old-fashioned basics from their parents? Or in kindergarten? Or at least in high-school or college? Or graduate school for that matter? Certainly by the time they come to work as an associate at this firm, they should know how to get themselves to work on time and behave properly. Am I supposed to teach them how to cross the street too?”

Here’s what I tell my clients: If you employ young people nowadays, then the soft skills gap is your problem. That’s the bad news…

To read the rest, click here!

Looking for some help to handle these problems, and more? Check out the Tips and Tools on our



US News

6 Tips for “Managing Up” and What That Even Means

August 3, 2015


Keys to Effective Management

July 29, 2015

Leading Millennials in the Workplace

July 29, 2015

Accounting Today

What’s the Matter with Kids Today?

July 28, 2015

Huffington Post

Why Do So Many Gen Zers Seem to Lack that Old-Fashioned “Professionalism?”

July 28, 2015

Thinkers 50

Personal Responsibilty: The First Person You Have to Manage Is Yourself

July 24, 2015

Robert Half

Get Ready for Generation Z

July 22, 2015

Training Magazine

Sticky Notes: Make It a Long Goodbye

July 20, 2015

Drake Business Review

The Top Ten Hardest Things About Managing People

July 13, 2015

Training Magazine

Management Challenge #14: When an Employee Needs an Attitude Adjustment

July 13, 2015

Huffington Post

The Great Generational Shift

July 8, 2015

Brain Matters Podcast

Bruce Tulgan on Leadership Development

July 2, 2015


The Soft Skills Gap

What is wrong with kids today?!

There can be no doubt that today’s newest new young workers are displaying their relative youth and lack-of-experience as young people have always done. That’s part of the story. So then why does all the evidence show that the soft skills gap is widening? Is there truly a generational difference in the soft skills gap manifested by today’s newest new young workforce?

Managers tell us every day in our research some version of what one middle-aged manager in a pharmaceutical company told me: “When I was young and inexperienced, I may have been naïve or immature, but I knew enough to wear a tie, make eye contact, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘yes sir’ and ‘yes ma’am,’ and when to shut up and keep my head down and do the grunt work without having to be told over and over again.”

Indeed, the incidence and insistence of managers complaining about the soft skills of their new young workers has risen steadily year after year since we began tracking it in the mid-1990s, when Generation Xers were the “New Dogs” on the scene. Specifically, what issues do managers complain about most? Here’s what managers most often say:

  • “They are unprofessional.”
  • “They have no self-awareness.”

To read the rest click here!


Bridging the Soft Skills Gap is coming to a bookstore near you September 15,

2015. Follow the links below to pre-order your copy today!



The 27 Challenges Managers Face is now available at


Rainmaker Thinking’s video-based, automated, & continuous online training program for managers and

employees. If you haven’t tried Rainmaker Thinking .training please take a look by clicking here or call 203-772-2002 x101

for more information.


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