If you know me, you know that I have one main addiction in my life, and that is reading. I am constantly in books, journals, websites, and more, trying to consume all of the knowledge that I can. I also have Book Acquisition Disorder (BAD), which is exemplified by my constant collecting of new books and reading materials for my bookshelf. 

All of this to say – I love books. 

By request, this blog will focus on my top OBM (or related) reads for people interested in getting into OBM, or refining their existing skills. 

  1. Performance Management– Daniels and Bailey
    The OG performance management text. If you need the basics, this is your first stop.
  2. Improving Performance  – Rummler and Brache
    I’ve read this book at least 3 times. It’s written in a very friendly way, and touched on bits of performance management and behavioral systems analysis without being too “heavy”.
  3. Paradox of Organizational Change– Malott
    For systems analysis, this is my go-to. While a little more difficult to read, this book provides a LOT of bang for your buck in a small package.

  4. Handbook of Organizational Performance– Johnson, Redmon, and Mawhinney
    I consider this book a bit of a hidden gem! For folks with a bit more experience, this is a game changing read. It covers all different facets of OBM, from the basics of conditioning to pay-for-performance, to marketing, safety, stress, leadership… Fantastic read, one of my absolute faves.

  5. Human Competence– Gilbert
    Gilbert has been the grandfather of many popular OBM practice systems. His work has remained relevant for decades and had influences so many practitioners.

  6. The Supervisor’s Guidebook– Reid, Parsons, and Green
    For my human service friends, this is my first recommendation. These authors have done a killer job picking out the essential skills of a supervisor and laying them out in a way that makes it easy to grasp if you are a clinical BCBA. MUST READ, ABA people!

  7. The Leadership Pipeline– Charan, Drotter, and Noel
    My first non-OBM-proper recommendation, I’ve recommended this book to dozens of leaders, all who end up feeling as if it revolutionized how they see their jobs. If you are a CEO or business owner, give this one a chance.

  8. Unlock Behavior, Unleash Profits– Braksick
    If you struggle to explain OBM concepts to business people, or just want a light read that reinforces behavioral concepts at work, look no further. From the team at Alula (formerly known as the Continuous Learning Group), this book was written for broad audiences to help businesses understand OBM concepts and principles in a useful way.

  9. The Behavior Breakthrough– Jacobs et al.
    Similar to above, and from the same company, this book is business and reader-friendly, and filled with a ton of useful tools and strategies for managers and leaders.

  10. Rapid Change– Laipple
    Change management is a very interesting sub-area of OBM, and this book is a great reference for folks trying to achieve change without causing a mass exodus in their businesses.

  11. Dare to Lead– Brown
    Another non-OBM text, but absolutely aligns with our practice. I admit, I’ve listened to this audiobook 3 times, have both kindle and physical copies… it really is that good.

  12. Pay for Profit– Abernathy
    Interested in pay for performance? This is a great workbook to help you understand the complex equations that allow us to develop those types of systems, starting at the top. Absolutely essential for aspiring scorcarders!

  13. The Mager Six Pack– Mager
    For training and development, Mager’s books are the greatest. Once you understand how your instructional design influences how people work, it completely changes how you present information and train. And while I have a soapbox that training isn’t usually the answer, when it IS the answer, you should do it well!

  14. The Social Validity Manual– Carter
    Not OBM necessarily, more ABA, but this little-known text is really great regardless. It really underpins the importance of creating socially valid interventions and provides exhaustive lists of tools and strategies for measurement. It completely changed the way I practice.

  15. Bringing Out the Best in People– Daniels
    Classic, friendly, OBM-101. Many people fall in love with this one!

  16. A Good Days Work– Lattal and Clark
    Ethics, ethics, ethics! Again, another book that completely changed the way I practice in the field and my perspectives on ethical decision-making.

  17. OBM Applied!– Rodriguez, Sundberg, and Biagi
    And finally, I would be remised not to mention OBM Applied!, a set of books that instruct beginner OBMers through how to do a performance management project. There are so many references in this text, it will make your head spin. I don’t receive any compensation for sales, but it really is a unique book for upcoming OBMers.

And there you have it! I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but if you are looking at where to start in your OBM readings, this will help! I have actually read all of these books, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

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