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We all know the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

According to Wikipedia, the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition”.  Most people in the US have heard of it from the Bible.

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

— Leviticus 19:18


“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

— Galatians 5:14

I kept researching and realized that I understood the Got Questions website answer the best.

“The “Golden Rule” is the name given to a principle Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount. What we call the Golden Rule refers to Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus’ Golden Rule gives us a standard by which naturally selfish people can gauge their actions: actively treat others the way they themselves like to be treated.”

This rule seems like a great way to be civil to people in the workplace, however, it is lacking.  Someone told me that the Platinum rule is now the new Golden Rule.  According to Inc., the Platinum rule was suggested by Dave Kerpen in his book, The Art of People.  The platinum rule is to

Treat others as they wish to be treated.

This makes so much sense in our now global workplace. I know that my co-workers would like to receive rewards and recognition in different ways.  Robyn may like an announcement so that all of her co-workers will know what a great job she is doing!  If I made a public announcement about Rob, he might feel mortified that he was “called out”.  This goes beyond rewards and recognition of how people feel the most comfortable.  We wish to help our colleagues feel comfortable in the workplace.

So, how do we find out just HOW others wish to be treated?  We ask them.  This is the best customer service strategy that I can suggest. I’ve been coaching a customer service representative and she said she naturally uses this Platinum Rule.  She wants what is best for each of her customers.  “What can I do for you, sir?” is one of her favorite greetings.

It is also a great way to treat people on your team and in your organization. When I was teaching a leadership course, Bill, a manager, voiced, “I thought I need to treat each person equally! How can I apply the Platinum Rule?” Other leaders in this class started brainstorming about how to be equal but still be able to be unique for each of their team members.  One suggestion was to make sure that each team member had access to you the manager but do this in ways that work best for each individual.  For example, meet face-to-face with Samantha for an hour. Have 6 ten minute calls on the phone with Joseph.  Have 2 thirty-minute zoom meetings with Sally.   The group went on to “prove” to Bill that there is a way to be equal as well as treating people how they wish to be treated.

Another example was mentioned to me because the company had a policy that did not include the Platinum rule.  This company had one way to treat their customers.  They were considerate, compassionate, and had a wonderful reputation. Then, a VP got a terrible email pointing out that the company did not have an option for Muslim customers.  The email detailed that their families needed to be treated differently because of their religion.  He was mortified that no one in the company had ever thought about this option.  They wanted to use the company’s services but while also keeping within the guidelines of their religion.  The family wanted options that did not exist YET.  The VP, after realizing, thanked the letter writer and went to work customizing and changing some of the procedures.  That is a great example of feedback that started out to be tough to hear but brought about a great change for future customers.  Fortunately, that company was open to the feedback and thanked the unhappy customer.

Even though the Platinum Rule seems like it could be a challenge, it can be a wonderful way to customize options for your customers, organization, and team. What questions can you ask to get the Platinum Rule into action at your organization?

The Journal Book by Lori Ann Roth Ph.D

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