Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
Brett DiNovi, MA, BCBA
Brett DiNovi & Associates
The day you walk across that stage to receive your high school diploma is monumental. It represents the culmination of 12+ years of work – over a decade of hard work aimed at a distant goal. You might then choose to devote several more years of work towards another distant goal – a college degree.
If you are a behavior analyst, it doesn’t stop there. You will put in 2-3 more years for a Master’s degree, and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification. And if you still want more, another 4+ years for a doctorate.
Years of hard work…ups and downs…successes and hard aches, to meet long-term goals.
Our clinical work has distant goals as well. Meeting developmental milestones centered on language, social, and living skills, and reducing the occurrence of maladaptive behavior, don’t happen overnight. They take time, hard work, and energy.
Long-term, or “distal” goals are pervasive in our lives and our work. Most of the time, reaching such goals requires us to do things that are uncomfortable or less preferred, along the way – such as studying on a Friday night, putting in extra meetings with clients or staff, or taking a side job to supplement your educational or business goals.
In a recent video by Brett DiNovi he suggests that it is our duty to find reinforcers for ourselves and others for meeting small goals on the way to our larger dreams. Behavior analysts might call such goals “successive approximations” to a distant goal, or steps towards something bigger.
He also points out that, most of the time, our ability to meet goals is heavily influenced by other people. Often times, this means considering how our behavior is connected to other people via Interlocking Behavioral Contingencies (IBCs). IBCs occur when the behavior or behavioral product of one person simultaneously function as an antecedent or consequential stimulus event for the behavior of another person. IBCs produce aggregate outcomes that wouldn’t otherwise occur, such as your diploma, your treatment plan goals, or business outcomes.
Getting a diploma, for example, requires teachers, school districts, and whole educational systems to help us along the way. The completion of treatment goals developed by a BCBA requires front-line staff to implement programs, training programs to produce qualified practitioners, and universities to fund them. And the success of a company, in carrying out the leader’s vision, sometimes requires managing operations of hundreds or thousands of people.
Acknowledging our interconnectedness in meeting life’s goals, many of which are in the distant future, means we can better position ourselves to support our families, friends, and coworkers towards the betterment of our collective futures. This means taking an active role in finding positive reinforcers to encourage others in their path. It means purposefully catching others “doing good” in their lives or work, especially when they are down. And it means taking care of our own health and wellbeing such that we can be there for others when they need us most.
To hear more about how you can support others in reaching their goals, check out this video from Brett DiNovi and Associates, and be sure to subscribe to Brett DiNovi’s YouTube channel for further updates.
Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world, bSci21.org. bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series. Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar. He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues. Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas. Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at [email protected]
Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA has the unique and distinguished experience of studying the principles of applied behavior analysis under the rigorous scrutiny of both Dr. Julie S. Vargas (formerly Skinner) and Dr. E.A. Vargas at West Virginia University’s internationally recognized program. For the past 26 years, Brett has used behavior analytic principles to create large scale change across school districts, Fortune 500 companies using principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), and across individual learners. Brett has been a OBM consultant in Morgantown WV, an instructor at West Virginia University, a guest lecturer at numerous universities, a speaker on multiple Comcast Newsmakers TV programs, an expert witness in due process hearings, has publications in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been in in executive leadership positions across schools and residential programs nationwide. In addition to an award from South Jersey Biz Magazine for “Best Places to Work,” an award for “Best of Families” in Suburban Magazine, and the distinguished “Top Ranked U.S. Executives” award, Brett’s proudest accomplishment is being a role model and father for his daughter and two stepchildren (one of which has autism). Brett can be reached at [email protected]
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