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Knowledge of Behavior Is Never Irrelevant

Knowledge of Behavior Is Never Irrelevant

Can you believe it, they have me blogging. At age 73, no less. Hey, behavior changes. I have just read Growing Up Digital the latest book by Don Tapscott. He talks a lot about the NetGeneration, ages 11-31. The book is written for people older than 31 because those younger than 31 have grown up digital. They don’t need to be told about it—they are it.

The book has certainly shown me in detail that the way people communicate, even buy and sell, has changed dramatically in just the last few years. It will only continue at an ever increasing rate. No one seems to talk about what is driving these changes. Most think it is technology but there is plenty of technology that never draws a crowd. What is driving the current change is what has always driven change—reinforcement. The technologies that survive and thrive are those that provide the most positive reinforcement for the users.

In Bringing out the Best in People, I wrote about the Nintendo Generation and how they would change the way business operates. However, they are now in their 40s. Although the Nintendo Generation are not irrelevant to business today, many of them are falling behind the technology curve.

At my age I have one consolation – behavior will never be irrelevant. Those who understand it will have a happy and productive life. Those who don’t understand behavior may never have this. Although much remains to be discovered about human behavior, much is known. Unfortunately, what we know is not widely known. I believe that the more people know about behavior—that is the scientific study of behavior known as behavior analysis—the better off everyone will be.

The purpose of this blog will be to dialog about behavioral issues not only in the workplace but in life in general. I will try to share things that I have learned, discuss the latest research in behavior analysis and its implications for daily life and to learn from your experiences in the workplace.

I am excited about this new venture and I hope that as people comment and bring up workplace issues that you will find the commentary useful and thereby positively reinforcing.

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Posted by Aubrey Daniels, Ph.D.

Aubrey is a thought leader and expert on management, leadership, safety and workplace issues. For the past 40 years, he has been dedicated to helping people and organizations apply the laws of human behavior to optimize performance.


I learned recently that I am considered a "digital immigrant" and that my children are "digital natives". And while it is true that I may not be as quick to pick up on the latest tech trends - I do believe that the observations you make in your book about behavior and what motivates or demotivates is relevant to all generations in the workforce today! Nice to see your work in the blogosphere!

These are really incredibly interesting times we live in. The newspaper industry is dying while the Internet grows and has become the major source of information for the world. Blogs have become the replacement for editorial pages and cover so many topics it is hard to keep up. It is great to see Aubrey showing all of us that even old dogs can learn new tricks with positive reinforcement! I look forward to future entries on www.aubreydaniels.com/blog

Great post, Aubrey! You continually remind us that no matter how this world changes, no matter the new science, gadgets, or technological discoveries, it's still people who have to react and deal with those changes. And unless the movies come true and robots take over, a scientific understanding of why people do the things they do will always be relevant. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts more frequently and I am excited to participate in the discussion here! Welcome to the digital, web 2.0, social media, etc. revolution!

Nothing like the youth in you to show the rest of us the way, Dr. Daniels. Adventure, keen intellect, and love of learning have made you one of the most valuable resources we have to learn about behavior at work, and how to bring out the best in people, to borrow a phrase. You post your ‘age’ but we know you are ageless, and one for the ages as well. Stay well, keep writing, exploring and learning–but most important, keep sharing with the rest of us.

Very interesting! As a proud member of the Nintendo generation I am looking forward to more positive reinforcement in the work place. The recent interview I made with you on this subject will be up in a few weeks at www.psykologifabriken.se, altough in swedish! Looking forward to follow your blog, Dr Daniels!

I was first exposed to Aubrey Daniels 20 years ago. He was talking about Bringing Out the Best in People. He was at the top of his game at that point. This new blogging tool shows that Aubrey is still relevant and it is a shame that more people haven't internalized his teachings. Even worse, his teachings aren't really his. He is just telling us what should be obvious to us all. But human nature doesn't change and I am glad to know we have Aubrey around to help us.

I made a few changes in my life--started out on farm in Utah as one of 11 children in the early part of the 20th century and ended up traveling the world with my husband. Along the way, I learned that the way to stay young is to always be open to learning. I say this because I have known Dr. Daniels' work for 30 years and he has made the learning easy. Now, once again, here I am on the blog from his new book, having found it through my hunt and peck method, deciding to leave this note. After all, the new technologies connect us all --not just in the United States as this blog is showing already. My husband loved learning about people. He did what Dr. Daniels has asked us all to do. His job often involved changing the way we interacted with others with different customs and unusual practices and what Dr. Daniels reminded both of us is that real, genuine (not artificial) sugar works! OOPS is full of real life sugar--design the workplace to recognize us all for the good work we each do and show us each respect. My life's work was to support my husband's work by helping to build lifelong friendships across the world--and to raise my children. The concepts applied to both and have made for an excellent life. Good luck in your life's mission, Dr. Daniels. I thank you.

Pearl, What a very nice note. Thank you for taking the time to comment. It is always good to know of people who have had long-term success with some of what I have written about. You have obviously done well with positive reinforcement. Thank you once again. @