|We have all
heard of the Golden Rule-and many people aspire to live by it. The
Golden Rule is not a panacea. Think about it: "Do unto others as you
would have them do unto you." The Golden Rule implies the basic
assumption that other people would like to be treated the way that you
would like to be treated.
The alternative to the
Golden Rule is the Platinum Rule:
"Treat others the way they want to be
treated." Ah hah! What a difference. The Platinum Rule accommodates
the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from "this
is what I want, so I'll give everyone the same thing" to "let me
first understand what they want and then I'll give it to them."
A Modern Model For
The goal of The Platinum Rule is
personal chemistry and productive relationships. You do not have to
change your personality. You do not have to roll over and submit to
others. You simply have to understand what drives people and
recognize your options for dealing with them.
The Platinum Rule divides
preferences into four basic styles:
Everyone possesses the qualities of
each style to various degrees and everyone has a dominant style. For
the sake of simplicity, this article will focus only on dominant
Directors are driven by two governing
needs: to control and achieve. Directors are goal-oriented
go-getters who are most comfortable when they are in charge of
people and situations. They want to accomplish many things-now-so
they focus on no-nonsense approaches to bottom-line results.
Directors seek expedience and are not
afraid to bend the rules. They figure it is easier to beg
forgiveness than to ask permission. Directors accept challenges,
take authority, and plunge head first into solving problems. They
are fast-paced, task-oriented, and work quickly and impressively by
themselves, which means they become annoyed with delays.
Directors are driven and dominating,
which can make them stubborn, impatient, and insensitive to others.
Directors are so focused that they forget to take the time to smell
Socializers are friendly,
enthusiastic "party-animals" who like to be where the action is.
They thrive on the admiration, acknowledgment, and compliments that
come with being in the lime-light.
The Socializer's primary strengths
are enthusiasm, charm, persuasiveness, and warmth. They are
idea-people and dreamers who excel at getting others excited about
their vision. They are eternal optimists with an abundance of
charisma. These qualities help them influence people and build
alliances to accomplish their goals.
Socializers do have their weaknesses:
impatience, an aversion to being alone, and a short attention span.
Socializers are risk-takers who base many of their decisions on
intuition, which is not inherently bad. Socializers are not inclined
to verify information; they are more likely to assume someone else
will do it.
Thinkers are analytical, persistent,
systematic people who enjoy problem-solving. Thinkers are
detail-oriented, which makes them more concerned with content than
style. Thinkers are task-oriented people who enjoy perfecting
processes and working toward tangible results. They're always in
control of their emotions and may become uncomfortable around people
who very out-going, e.g., Socializers.
Thinkers have high expectations of
themselves and others, which can make them over-critical. Their
tendency toward perfectionism-taken to an extreme-can cause
"paralysis by over-analysis." Thinkers are slow and deliberate
decision-makers. They do research, make comparisons, determine
risks, calculate margins of error, and then take action. Thinkers
become irritated by surprises and glitches, hence their cautious
decision-making. Thinkers are also skeptical, so they like to see
promises in writing.
Relaters are warm and nurturing
individuals. They are the most people-oriented of the four styles.
Relaters are excellent listeners, devoted friends, and loyal
employees. Their relaxed disposition makes them approachable and
warm. They develop strong networks of people who are willing to be
mutually supportive and reliable. Relaters are excellent team
Relaters are risk-aversive. In fact,
Relaters may tolerate unpleasant environments rather than risk
change. They like the status quo and become distressed when
disruptions are severe. When faced with change, they think it
through, plan, and accept it into their world. Relaters-more than
the other types-strive to maintain personal composure, stability,
In the office, Relaters are courteous, friendly, and willing to
share responsibilities. They are good planners, persistent workers,
and good with follow-through.
Relaters go along with others even
when they do not agree because they do not want to rock the boat.
Relaters are slow
decision-makers for several reasons:
1) their need for security;
2) their need to avoid risk;
3) their desire to include others in
the decision-making process.
Directors are very time-sensitive, so
never waste their time. Be organized and get to the point. Give them
bottom-line information and options, with probabilities of success,
if relevant. Give them written details to read at their leisure.
Directors are goal-oriented, so
appeal to their sense of accomplishment. Stroke their egos by
supporting their ideas, and acknowledge their power and prestige.
Let Directors call the shots. If you disagree, argue with facts, not
feelings. In groups, allow them to have their say because they are
not the type who will take a back-seat to others.
With Directors, in
general, be efficient and competent.
Socializers thrive on personal
recognition, so pour it on sincerely. Support their ideas, goals,
opinions, and dreams. Try not to argue with their pie-in-the-sky
visions; get excited about them.
Socializers are social-butterflies,
so be ready to flutter around with them. A strong presence,
stimulating and entertaining conversation, jokes, and liveliness
will win them over. They are people-oriented, so give them time to
socialize. Avoid rushing into tasks.
With Socializers, in
general, be interested in them.
Adapting To Thinkers
Thinkers are time-disciplined, so be
sensitive to their time. They need details, so give them data.
Support Thinkers in their organized, thoughtful approach to
problem-solving. Be systematic, logical, well-prepared, and exact
with them. Give them time to make decisions and work independently.
Allow them to talk in detail.
In work groups, do not expect
Thinkers to be leaders or outspoken contributors, but do rely on
them to conduct research, crunch numbers, and perform detailed
foot-work for the group. If appropriate, set guidelines and exact
deadlines. Thinkers like to be complimented on their brain-power, so
recognize their contributions accordingly.
With Thinkers, in
general, be thorough, well-prepared, detail-oriented, business-like, and
Adapting To Relaters
Relaters are relationship-oriented,
want warm and fuzzy relationships, so take things slow, earn their
trust, support their feelings, and show sincere interest. Talk in
terms of feelings, not facts, which is the opposite of the strategy
for Thinkers. Relaters don't want to ruffle feathers. They want to
be assured that everyone will approve of them and their decisions.
Give them time to solicit co-workers' opinions. Never back a Relater
into a corner. It is far more effective to apply warmth to get this
chicken out of its egg than to crack the shell with a hammer.
With Relaters, in
general, be non threatening and sincere.
The Platinum Rule provides powerful
life-skills that will serve you well in all your relationships:
business, friends, family, spouse, and children. Improved
relationships create infinite possibilities. Sometimes I think of
John Lennon's song, "Imagine." One of the verses could be, "Imagine
there's no conflict, it's easy if you try."