We all know the Golden Rule:
I talked about it in my Leadership blog in reference to the Hopi elder Thomas Banyaca who said, “Be good to each other, and do not look beyond yourself for the leader.” The Golden Rule is more than just actions; it’s about thoughts as well.
I want to be treated with kindness. I suspect you do too. It means I must treat others the same way. I do that by associating kind thoughts with kind actions. The result is congruence, where we feel aligned internally and externally.
The Golden Rule exists in most religions and faiths in the world. I can’t say for sure because I don’t know all of them. Still, I like the universality of The Golden Rule as a reminder that when we scratch under the surface, we want the same things – kindness, generosity, respect.
The Platinum Rule
Recently I did a podcast where The Golden Rule came up in the conversation. The twist that caught my attention? The podcast host, Roberta Ndela, introduced a new idea called The Platinum Rule. It goes like this:
Hmm, don’t you love playing with words? I do! Wordle, anyone? But I digress…
The Golden Rule asks us to start with ourselves – treat others how we want to be treated. The Platinum Rule takes the next step and compels us to imagine (empathize) how others want to be treated. It turns the focus outward. How does this apply in our own lives?
The Platinum Rule at Work
In the podcast, we discussed communication skills. Examples of using The Platinum Rule in the workplace include:
- Considering what the audience wants to hear in a presentation and designing your presentation from that perspective;
- Explaining to an interviewer how your interpersonal and technical skills will help the company grow;
- Pitching a new product or service by highlighting what the buyer wants.
The Platinum Rule at Home
In our everyday lives, we apply The Platinum Rule by meeting people where they’re at instead of where we’re at. We do this by adjusting our communication styles. For example, I prefer important communication via the written word. I can read it at my pace, absorb it, and not have to act on it instantly. It allows me the space to respond instead of react.
Through my experience in HR, I’ve learned that some people prefer face-to-face contact, others prefer to communicate over the phone, while still others prefer the brevity of text messaging.
And while some communication methods tend to be favoured by one generation over another, lots of variation exists at the individual level. Incidentally, this is why I present my blog in written, audio, and visual formats.
Consider the gift in applying The Platinum Rule to your life. By putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, you build bridges into a kinder, gentler world. While humanity may descend at times into despair and hopelessness, here’s a concrete way you can make a difference.
Ask yourself how you can use The Platinum Rule today. Recognize that sometimes all it takes is connecting – communicating – in a way that makes sense to someone else. Start by considering how you like to receive communication so you develop self-awareness of your preferred method and then think of it in relation to others you meet each day.
I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more effective you are in your communication, how much better it is received, and your greater impact on the world around you. Small ripples create bigger ones. Go for it!