How do I transition to an OBM career?

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Barbara Bucklin, PhD

bSci21 Contributing Writer

People often contact me with a question like this– “I’ve been a behavior consultant working with ASD clients for my entire career. I know ABA and now I’m starting to learn about OBM as an application of ABA. I really want to make the transition. What should I do?”

Here’s the advice that I typically provide.

Learn your stuff. Take classes if you can fit them into your schedule and budget, such as Florida Institute of Technology’s OBM Certificate program. Also, be sure to watch OBM Network webinars; they’re scheduled about once a month and free of charge if you’re a member of the network ( To join the OBM Network, the current yearly dues are $59 for full membership and $34 for student membership.  You can also try it out free of charge for 90 days. With your membership, in addition to the Webinars, you’ll receive a bi-annual newsletter and a subscription to the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM), which is full of valuable OBM articles.

On your quest to learn about OBM, read as many books as you can.  I recommend any by Aubrey Daniels, and the best place to start is with his Performance Management: Changing Behavior that Drives Organizational Performance (2016), coauthored with Jon Bailey. I also recommend a new book edited by Byron Wine and Joshua Pritchard called, Organizational Behavior Management: The Essentials (2018), which includes 16 chapters written by leading OBM experts.

Find a mentor. If you don’t already have a mentor, reach out to someone established in OBM. Most of us are happy to answer questions and provide advice. You can also contact the OBM Network to be paired with a seasoned OBM-er. A mentor can guide you and help shape your new OBM repertoire.

Find ways to practice OBM. It may be easier than you think to start applying OBM. Offer to select and implement an OBM program where you currently work. Look to your mentor for help. Most people I know who’ve made the transition started by applying OBM in their own practice or workplace. Collaborate with your organization’s leaders and present the benefits of OBM, such as better productivity and quality through aligned antecedents and consequences. Explain that it makes perfect sense to apply the same principles of behavior with staff that they use with clients.

Build relationships through networking. Attend the OBM Network conference to meet OBM-ers. Also go to the OBM talks delivered at other conferences, such as ABAI’s annual convention or your local state ABAI chapter. Go to learn, but also stay after to network with new and seasoned professionals and academics. Find out how they got into OBM and what they’re doing now. Ask if they need help – full time, part time, paid, or unpaid.

If you’re someone who’s made this transition yourself, please comment below with your advice, tips, and pitfalls to avoid.

I’m also here to help; reach out to me at [email protected]


Daniels, A. C. & Bailey, J. S. (2016). Performance management: Changing behavior that drives organizational effectiveness. Atlanta, GA: Aubrey Daniels International, Inc.

Wine, B. & Prichard, J. K., Eds. (2018). Organizational behavior management: The essentials. Orlando, FL: Hedgehog Publishers.

Barbara Bucklin, PhD is founder of The Bucklin Group, and a global learning and performance improvement leader with over 20 years of experience. She collaborates with her clients to identify performance gaps and recommend solutions that are directly aligned with their core business strategies. She provides consulting services for learning (live and virtual), performance-support tools, performance metrics, and a host of innovative blended solutions.
Dr. Bucklin is Past President and serves on the Board of Directors for the Organizational Behavior Management Network. She has taught university courses in human performance technology, the psychology of learning, organizational behavior management, and statistical methods. Her research articles have appeared in Performance Improvement Quarterly and the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management. She presents her research and consulting results at international conventions such as the Association for Talent Development (ATD), International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), Training Magazine’s Conference and Expo, and the Organizational Behavior Management Network.  You can contact Dr. Bucklin at [email protected]



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