Kelly Therrien on Viewpoint with Seeta and Friends

Kelly Therrien Headshot

Learn more about human behavior with Kelly Therrien in a recent interview on Viewpoint with Seeta and Friends from February 2, 2019. Kelly Therrien brings over 15 years of experience in improving workplace behavior through organizational behavior management (OBM) to her role at ABA Technologies, Inc. as a Product Manager. Previously, Kelly worked as a senior consultant and project manager at ALULA, an OBM consulting firm. During her time with ALULA, she oversaw project teams to deliver strategic client engagements, develop consultants, and maintain high quality consulting services. Kelly earned a Master of Science in applied behavior analysis with an emphasis in organizational behavior management from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Kelly discusses more work-related topics in several FloridaToday articles, including Delegating Responsibilities, Finding your Focus, and Adjusting your Work Attitude.


Alison King (00:09):

Hello, and welcome to Operant Innovations. My name is Alison King. I'm a behavior analyst and currently the manager of the professional development division at ABA technologies. And I'm here to introduce this episode of our podcast. So in this episode, you will hear Kelly Therrien behavior analyst and the product manager for the professional development division at ABA technologies being intervieed by Seeta Begui who does weekly broadcast radio, which is titled viewpoint with Seeta and friends. Just to briefly give you some background on this. Seeta read one of Kelly's articles in Florida Today, which was all about delegation. And in that article, Kelly included some things she learned about delegation from her experience working as an external OBM consultant. So after reading this Seeta invited Kelly to her show to have her share more about behavioral science or particularly behavioral science applied to the workplace. So we're sharing the snippet of the interview to you and other fellow behavior analysts.

Alison King (01:06):

Just to show you one example of talking about an application of the science of human behavior to a general audience and Seeta's show focuses on all that is right and good and good in the world, and also how we can treat each other better and live better together. So Kelly's interview is focused on how we can make the world at work and even outside of the workplace, a better place, if we simply understand and interact with each other better and how a better understanding of the science of behavior or how we learn and influence one another with our own behavior, can help us do this and have this positive impact. So we hope you enjoy this recorded interview. And as always, we truly welcome your feedback, your questions, and also any suggestions that you have for future podcast topics that would be of interest to you.

Seeta Begui (02:30):

Hello space and treasure coast. This is Seeta Begui on viewpoint with Seeta and friends on am. 1510 WWBC FM 94.7 FM 99.9 and FM 100.7. We can also be heard on the web and on demand at the WWBC app. And of course you can find us on the, on the internet, your website, Seeta media, inc. And it's Twitter as well. It's on Facebook, it's all over the place, just Google, Seeta and friends. And it comes right up. Yep.

Ellen (03:04):

Viewpoint with Seeta and friends and you'll really get it.

Seeta Begui (03:06):

Yeah, yeah. Actually, for some reason, if you just put seeta and friends that comes right up. Yeah. Yes. That's great. Anyways, today, my cohost Ellen and I were going to be heating up the airwaves with a lot of topics. We're talking about kitchen table topics, as well as things that are going on around here and around the nation. And I have to tell you, Ellen, this show today is all about science. Yes. Like you said, we paired it up really well. You did. You did. I did. Right. So in studio we have Kelly Therrien, Therrien, French, and, uh, Kelly's here. Um, she is the product manager for professional development for ABA technologies. And we're going to be talking today about human behavior in the workplace. So welcome to the show.

Kelly Therrien (03:54):

Thank you very much. I'm excited to be here.

Seeta Begui (03:56):

We're excited to have you here too. And Ellen as usual. Thanks for being here to help co-host viewpoint with Seeta and friends.

Ellen (04:03):

Right? So any, anything that anybody calls out during the show will be put in on Facebook right away. So you'll be able to see it right underneath the post, any websites or any information.

Seeta Begui (04:11):

We tried to do a Facebook live, but we didn't really have time. So for our listeners who are tuning in today, viewpoint with Seeta and friends is a fun unscripted unscripted, with an E D educational and very informative show, whether you love science, whether you want to buy a home, you want to learn to save. You need a mortgage. Uh, maybe you're thinking about going back to college, maybe you want to learn about a trade. Um, you're not getting along with your coworkers in the workplace. You don't get along with your husband and children, whatever it is, you've got a little drama, whatever we, this is the place to listen to every Monday we have solutions.

Ellen (04:51):

And this year you've done a really great job too, to look at social issues and try and get on the folks that are experiencing some hardships at any, any part of their lives. And hopefully we have some answers or at least some resources, right?

Seeta Begui (05:03):

And so our second segment is going to be with, uh, Kelly Therrien. I said it Therrien. That's a name I've never said before, but I said it Therrien Kelly Therrien and Kelly is the product manager for professional development of ABA technologies. And we're going to let her explain what that means in a minute, but I know Ellen has a public service announcement to make for a friend Stanley Brits with echo connects, which I am a nominee. I was just nominated. You blew my little intro you can do it again, you do a very nice job.

Ellen (05:37):

Seeta Begui was nominated as one of the citizens to participate in this Bravard walk of fame. It is going to be held on February 23rd, 2019 from six to 9:00 PM. And it's going to be at the Oasis at Palm shores, which is basically the space coast association of realtors that is on Piney to Plaza way in shores. So

Ellen (05:58):

It is benefiting Eckerd connects. And if you heard any of our shows, Stanley Briggs is a very good friend of ours and friend of the shows. And he's been on several times to talk about all the great things that Eckerd connects does, but this will be a fantastic evening. It always proves to be a fantastic night. You can get your tickets. I know from, um,, you can get the tickets on there and also on Facebook. So make sure if you, if you have that evening open February 23rd, you come watch, seeta hopefully accept her award.

Seeta Begui (06:28):

So Kelly's here and, you know, Kelly, your buyer's extensive and I did print it, but I'm going to have you talk a little bit about yourself. You're an experience behavior analyst, and you've dedicated your life to working with people in the workplace and helping them to be the best they can be. So tell us about yourself and how you got into this business.

Kelly Therrien (06:49):

Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me on the show today. And I just wanted to start, you know, my career has been spent in performance and leadership consulting focused primarily on organizational behavior management. And what that means is I've really worked with leaders to help them to engage the human performers in their workplace, to achieve business results, by executing and implementing whatever strategy they'd laid out within the organization. And while I really appreciated that opportunity to work with individual leaders and teach them the science and teach, you know, one person at a time, give them those aha moments. Now I'm working for ABA technologies as the product manager. And the goal is to develop products and services that help to further disseminate that science of human behavior. Because I really think if more people understood it, we could make an even bigger impact.

Seeta Begui (07:32):

Right. And you know, we've talked about leadership before on our show and, and what exactly is leadership, um, leaders on a good position to change the environment, to influence human behavior and behavior is influenced by our environment. Like we just heard from Dan and now you're doing the same thing, but in the workplace.

Kelly Therrien (07:51):

Absolutely. That's, that's exactly right. And you know, one of the biggest takeaways I would always ask for people to take with understanding the science of human behavior is that you can't control other's people's behavior. You can only change your own. So what can you do to respond differently, to act differently in order to get the different results that you're looking for? So taking that opportunity to step back and look at people people's perspective on things, why are they engaging that behavior? And how am I responding that I could go do something different to get a different outcome.

Seeta Begui (08:15):

Almost like you should be given a course in, um, in high school just before high-schoolers leave to go onto college or vocational or trade, because you know, that is, that's a key to the workplace. You cannot change other people. You could only change yourself. And how many times we've heard employees say, well, so and so didn't did that and got away with it or whatever, but you really can't change a person. You could just change yourself.

Kelly Therrien (08:39):

Absolutely. We spend so much worry and frustration on other people that we're frustrated about instead of taking action of our own. What can we do about it? How many times do we in fact provide feedback to that individual, instead of just talking about it, venting about it after work hours, instead of just directly addressing it and saying, Hey, I don't that that happened. What can we do differently tomorrow to get a different outcome?

Seeta Begui (08:58):

Well, Ellen had a nice way of saying something to me once I'm, I resigned from her a really good job that I had for 10 years. And I was upset when I resigned. And Ellen said, you never should have send that letter when you were upset. Can you speak a little bit about it, because how many people resigned from good jobs or high paying jobs, Just because of one thing? Yes. When do you say, okay, I'm going to go home, write a letter, not hit send.

Kelly Therrien (09:23):

Yes. I think you're getting that sort of frustration out and that venting out is, is definitely helpful. And we need to do that as well. But then once you've sort of had that opportunity to go to the gym and, you know, box it out or get the energy out, then take a step back, write that letter as angry as you want to make it, but then take a step back and really think about the other perspective, you know, put yourself in the shoes of the other person. I like to think about it in terms of intent versus impact. So I believe most people want to do well and make friends and encourage people and seek good things for their organization, for each other. But sometimes they have an impact on others that they don't even realize. So it might be that that boss, that you're so frustrated with didn't even know that what they were doing when they were stopping by the office and interrupting you 10 times a day, was really interfering with you meeting your other objectives. So how can you change that behavior? How can you provide that feedback? Or, you know, just again, step back, understand what their intention was. Their intention is to keep you updated on what's going on, but the impact is they're preventing you from getting other things done. So how can you communicate that to get a different outcome?

Seeta Begui (10:19):

So do you, do you think when I, when I wrote that you were coming on a show, a friend of mine was, um, we were having a conversation at the gym and we were saying, do you think the behaviors in a workplace is cultural? Because for example, she was saying, well, Indian people who are, um, engineers, they're always so passive there, they always say yes. And then some people from different cultures they question things. Now I do notice I would a lot of my friends, um, not just immigrants like myself, who really naturalized in here legally safe. I'm just,

Ellen (10:52):

Just throw that in there.

Seeta Begui (10:53):

But, but the thing is, um, you see, like I see people from, um, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, um, different places in the Caribbean. And, um, they're, they're so eager to work because they came to America with an op, with this idea that we want this opportunity to work. So taken out in consideration, didn't really question too many people. So it's kind of a cultural thing. Do you see that? I mean, how do we address that with some people who, in other words, unscripted, Seeta Begui, style, they do have a big mouth and they're very vocal while, while others are not.

Kelly Therrien (11:27):

Well, that's an interesting one. So I think in a leadership position, so managers and leaders should be looking at that and trying to draw people out that if they are a little bit more quiet, you know, to spend the time, to get to know them and understand what their drivers are, what do they want to see happening at the workplace to help address it. But culture, you know, really comes into place across the organization on the things that are being rewarded in the organization, all across different levels of leadership. When you think about ethics and compliance within organizations, is it being by the higher ups in the organization? So if they're seeing others, you know, engaging in this behavior, seeing that when people speak up and question things, if do they get a positive outcome from that, do they get heard or do those people get sort of, um, I dunno, punished for having made those comments?

Seeta Begui (12:08):

Well, because, you know, I know, um, years ago we had a friend who was a physician and they had, um, a staff meeting and he spoke out about the staffing in the emergency department. He spoke out that he thought they didn't have enough nurses and support staff to help the doctors because the doctors were doing the vital signs. So doctors were triaging the patients and all of a sudden, I mean, something happened and he had to leave. I'm not sure if they terminated him, but he said that he had a funny feeling that it was based on how vocal he was in the staff meeting. So, I mean, that is something that I think people have to take into consideration when you're working with such large organizations too.

Kelly Therrien (12:51):

Absolutely, and I think that, again, along these lines that you can't control other people's behavior, you can only control your own. I would really encourage people to take a more active role. And if you see something, say something in terms of providing feedback, if you see something you like, and you want to see again in the future, let people know that if you see something you didn't like, and it had a negative impact on you on others, in the organization, on the department, on the result, on the customer, whatever the case may be to say something about it. So often it sort of held in, or, you know, held for later for an end of year performance review, instead of in the moment, providing the feedback and giving the person the opportunity to again, do better. Because again, I believe people want to do well at work. They want to be successful and be recognized. So how can we, as leaders put into place, what we need to, to set them up to be successful.

Ellen (13:34):

To your point too, you don't even sometimes as a leader, you don't even know what you're doing that whole intention and impact piece. So I, you know, I just have like one example. I remember working for a large organization and the managers sent a particular department like flowers and a cake for their birthdays. And unfortunately didn't do it for a different another department. And it wasn't the intention wasn't to hurt anybody. But what leaders don't understand is that you, once you make a commitment to something, you have to make that commitment to everyone that's in the organization that would see something like that. Because even something like that could make it, you know, could be, you know, it could go costful environment, it could go anywhere. Right.

Seeta Begui (14:13):

You know why when your feelings are hurt, it does affect your job. Right. I know we had, um, a, a direct of nurses once I would come on the floor and she would say, good morning, based on her mood. So she was a good morning to certain people and she wouldn't say good morning to others. And that was a topic of conversation when people went out for lunches or dinner. Well, did you get a good morning today? Did you get a hello? Well, I don't think she took her meds, you know, whatever. And so it causes a lot of grief, but, um, one of the questions we have for you too, from, from our audience, um, what should people know about the science of human behavior?

Kelly Therrien (14:47):

Yeah, absolutely. A great question. I think, you know, really building your understanding of behavior allows us to better understand one another. And again, I think it could lead to a more positive, better world for all of us and better society. If we would just better understand ourselves and what's motivating and driving us and better understand others. And so again, understanding people's intentions versus the impact that they're having. And what can we do about that? You know, behavior is lawful. It makes sense to the performer. So when we sit back and scratch our heads and say, well, I don't understand why that. Yes, listen to this, but it didn't make sense that they aren't saying hello to everybody. You know, what, what what's going on there. So again, just understanding that performer, putting yourself in their shoes, why are they doing that? It makes sense to the person we do what works for us.

Kelly Therrien (15:30):

Um, so again, if you just understand that as much as we might scratch our head, it makes sense to that person. So if we can better understand that we can make an impact on what happens. And I want to go into a quick example about intent versus impact. So again, you know, thinking that we always want to do good things, I just wanted to share just kind of a fun example, that even as somebody in this field, who's worked within behavior and thought about this for my career. And after my education, my daughter's six. And when she was three, she was a bit speech delayed. She just wasn't quite meeting some of the milestones that her peers were so we took her to a speech therapist to get her evaluated, to figure out, you know, what's going on. Why isn't she speaking? And after working with a speech therapist quickly realized that she was doing very well in terms of receptive language.

Kelly Therrien (16:10):

She understood words understood what people were saying to her, but she just wasn't choosing to vocalize. So again, thinking about that, it made sense to her people do what works for them. She didn't need to talk is what we quickly figured out because mom was being incredibly helpful and anticipating her needs and wants. And, um, if somebody came over that didn't understand something, she said like grandma or dad, or just did it. I helped to, yeah, this is what she's saying. I intervened for her to interpret it for her to help her, where if she was interacting with somebody else, like a stranger and mom wasn't there to the rescue, she would have had to deal with the, what can you say that again? Say it differently until she verbalized. So it was a hard learning for me as trying to be this helpful mom of just my impact of being overly helpful with my daughter. Right?

Seeta Begui (16:54):

Yeah. We know, oftentimes we see all these little things on Facebook or Instagram and it says, it's not what you say is how you say it. And I think in to work with that is so true. It's how you could communicate with people is not what, because sometimes it's your tone of voice, what you say, right? So we just want to tell our listeners, we're speaking with Kelly Therrien aha and Kelly is an experienced behavior analyst who has dedicated her work to improve in the workplace. Through organizational behavior management. Kelly has worked with organizations across the United States and Canada. And we're so glad that you took the time to come on our show. Um, so Ellen, you know, we talk about so many topics on a show and, and this certainly is an important one because we were living in times when people just sprout off and say things like immigrants are coming to take my job, or he wants to come here and take my job.

Seeta Begui (17:47):

Nobody's taking anybody's job. Holding a job is a responsibility, it's loyalty to your company. These people are trusting you with a profession. With a job, whether it's a janitor in a hospital or nurse or a physician, you have to be the best you can be. And I like what Kelly's doing, because they're giving people the tools to go out and be part of the organization. And they're leading by setting such an example. So, you know, we'd often we'll hear things like this. We` set people lose and you give them a job in a uniform, and you say, go ahead and conquer the world, but you really need to know how to interact with the people around you. Cause we've seen where some people in their fifties and sixties, their bosses are in their twenties. Right? Right. So how, I mean, I've heard nurses say, well, my manager is only 25 years old and I've been into profession for 60 years. How does an older person cope with something like that?

Kelly Therrien (18:41):

I think it's a lot of the same things. So providing feedback so much of my work with leaders was around getting feedback. So doing 360 type interviews to collect feedback and data about how is your leader doing? And it was a fascinating how direct reports would provide feedback to me, you know, always a little bit anxious about what's going to happen with this and will there be any retaliation for it. But then I would do like these followup interviews. So give the feedback to the leader. They would implement some things they wanted to work on, come back a couple of months later and check again with the direct reports to see how, how are they doing? Are they making improvements? And it was so funny how going back and doing those checkpoints, that those direct reports would say, Oh my gosh, you know, he's made such great improvements. He's not interrupting anymore. He's, you know, being respectful of my time, so on and so forth. That's fantastic. So have you told him that? Well no, I was just waiting for you to come back and tell him again, like, come on just providing that feedback and taking more ownership and doing that, you know, there's, you can do it in a respectful objective way and just say, Hey, this is what's happening. And here's the impact it's having on me, you know, can we do something different going forward, have the conversation.

Seeta Begui (19:38):

Right? So you apply behavior analysis and organizations, but it sounds like it could be applied to a lot of areas, is this true?

Kelly Therrien (19:45):

It's absolutely true. There's so many different applications for behavioral science, and there's just a lot of people out in the, in the world working on these things that I just wanted to make sure that people are aware of. So I know a lot of my peers that work with children, whether it's people with developmental disabilities, with autism, uh, people that are developed typically developing, you know, they just work on lots of different things where they're having behavior challenges, whether at home or at school, I've got a peer that works with traumatic brain injury. So if you've got somebody that's gone through that sort of trauma to teach them then some independent living skills, how to get back to some normal. Classroom management, uh, for teachers, uh, health and fitness is another one organizations. Of course, sustainability is another one. So there's people in behavioral science working on that. So how do we get people to reduce their energy consumption or recycle? How do we make it more likely that we do that? So often we'll put policies and things into place where we're sort of punishing people for doing the wrong things, as opposed to rewarding for the right things. So anywhere that people are performing, if you can sort of think about flipping it that way and rewarding the right behaviors of the things you want to see more of is where behavior analysis can really be applied.

Seeta Begui (20:48):

And I'm sure there are, there's something we can do today, right? What is, what is one thing we can do today to start applying the science of human behavior?

Kelly Therrien (20:56):

Yeah. I think, you know, take a step back, consider your own behavior, you know, don't blame people for what they're doing, but rather take that objective, look, try to understand what they're doing and why. It makes sense to them and what can you do about it? So if we could just take a kinder approach, step back, take the emotion out of it and objectively to see what's going on. Um, provide that feedback. You know, if there's an opportunity.

Seeta Begui (21:16):

There are some, there are some people who said, well, all this has common sense. Why do we need training on the science of human behavior? What do you stated those people?

Kelly Therrien (21:24):

I think we touched on that earlier. It might be common sense and yes. Being kind to people and providing the feedback is absolutely. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense, but you know what? I didn't have a career in consulting for that long because it was common practice. So I would just encourage people to make sure that you are.

Ellen (21:36):

And keep in mind too, that the retention rates of companies now is not what it used to be. You know, usually six to seven years, and to lose that kind of intellectual data that somebody has, that's been working for you for six to seven years is really hard to replace. And it certainly gets replaced at a price of, of a downtime. And I think we went so many years, like in the eighties of, you know, everybody got like six Sigma jammed down their throat and all these processes and so forth. And we lost the human element. You know, the Jack Welch's of the, of GE where it was, you know, this, um, forced rankings with reviews and, you know, always, there's always a bottom 10% and you always get rid of those that took the behavioral part out of it, because then it was all managing by statistics and managing by a P and L statement rather than really taking into consideration that these people had families. And Kelly's point wants to do a good job every day. It's not like they're walking in.

Seeta Begui (22:29):

Yeah. We have to look at what's happening in today's world. Technology has taken over so many jobs, right. And we have a workforce that's not trained. So how do we get people who are trained, like with the nursing, I can't speak for other professions, but in the medical professions, you have doctors who are frustrated with the technology part of it, because they want to take care of patients, right? How do you, they want to see their patients. They want to touch them and take care of them. Feel them know what's going with the abdomen. They just don't want to poke their head in and say, how are you doing right. So how do you mesh the two with the young people, with the expertise and the older people with this kind of experience?

Kelly Therrien (23:04):

Yeah. I think it's really, you know, getting them to work together, allowing mentoring opportunities where you can, before we keep talking about the mass Exodus, that's coming with a number of large number of people that are going to be retiring in the next few years. So what can we do to get the young people paired up with them to learn not just the technical skill of the job, but some of the more nuances and, you know, politics within the organization and how do we best interact and how do we get things done here who needs to be influenced? How do we work together and effectively communicate.

Seeta Begui (23:30):

Right? And you know, it used to be that when a man had a job, it, you know, in my religion, we always, my mommy's to say, when your cleanliness is next to godliness, but she says, when you have a job and you make an, a shilling, be grateful for it, right. You know, it used to be, people were so grateful for a, but now we have organizations that can't function because people call in sick at the drop of a hat. What can we do to incentivize more people, to show, to be more loyal to their jobs, to have pride in putting on a, wearing the uniform with a logo, somebody thought about a loan. Somebody thought about a business, somebody build at brick and mortar place. A you can have a job. How do we instill these values that we've lost?

Kelly Therrien (24:10):

Yes. I think incentivizing those things. So what can we do to reward those things, showing up, looking the part for the job, doing, going above and beyond. How do we reward those things and show that that's valued in the organization, not by doing a forced ranking and getting rid of those bottom 3%, but rather, you know, again, rewarding the things that you want rather than punishing the things that you don't want. How do we bring people along? Show them demonstrate.

Seeta Begui (24:32):

And even with benefits, you know, we need to start looking at I mean if you speak to employees, you'll find out, you know, everyone have a mortgage, a car payment, car insurance, health insurance, they have children. They have to send to college or trade school or whatever. I think it behooves a lot of us to sit down, look at the salary stew, the benefits of what people are earning. It makes it makes a big difference. It really does. Cause I see it in my job. I've seen it in working in Chicago, Indiana. All over the place, and you've worked in Canada. What was the difference of work ethics in Canada and the United States? Was there anything different?

Kelly Therrien (25:06):

That's an interesting one. I think that, um, the pay, because it was primarily an oil and gas, so there was a lot of pay there. So a lot of people came from all over the place to go there and they were happy to go to work because it meant money. I mean, they could have easily acquainted it to the large dollars. Yes. Yeah.

Seeta Begui (25:19):

Yeah, yeah. You, when you get paid, right. So if somebody wanted to find you on the web and get some of your expertise and maybe connect with you, how would they find you?

Kelly Therrien (25:27):

Yeah. Thank you. I'm on LinkedIn and it's just Kelly Therrien, or, um, of course, if you're a locally like Bravard County, there's the association for behavior analysis is on Facebook is another great resource with a lot of people working in this field, in those different applications. So whether it's me or just another behavior analyst, I would really encourage people to learn more about it and seek us out. We are all over the place.

Seeta Begui (25:47):

Yeah. I'm often said like when you apply for a job, of course now everything is online. And you know, when you know that area where it says, you know, race and gender and all that I've often said, we should take all that out. Human, just put human and go to work and make your, an honest dollar and give it a hundred percent. Because when you work and you leave feeling fulfilled and you gave your job the best you can be and to your patients or whatever, I'm always thinking like a nurse, you leave there feeling so wonderful about what you do. And I mean, everyone has a purpose, right. And need to just find it and do it. But 30 seconds or less, what would you say to encourage someone who's in a position right now that needs to hear something positive about their job and why they should stay, or who does she talk to?

Kelly Therrien (26:30):

Well, I would say to look, look to your customers, you know, look for where you are making an impact and see how people appreciate what it is that you're producing or the customers you're interacting with. Look for the reward there of, you know, just the, a good today's job and what that does for you.

Ellen (26:44):

Another fantastic week here on viewpoint with Seeta and friends, and we will return next week at 1:00 PM live right here on AM 1510 WWBC.


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