Communicate More Effectively With Your Team By Following “The Platinum Rule”

The Golden Rule is something I hear about quite often: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I grew up with that rule, but over the years, it has created much frustration on my part in terms of getting leaders to lead and teams to be teams in a powerful manner. It has also limited the ability and results of leaders and teams in molding culture. It has bogged down processes and allowed strategic plans to be short circuited. We suggest you follow, the Platinum Rule, “do unto others as they would have done unto them.”

Do unto othersAn example:

I am very bottom line focused, results oriented and verbally create. Another person in my office is detail and process oriented and values the written word.

Both of us have great intentions when communicating with each other, but in the interaction where we, “do unto the other person” with our own natural style, we end up not giving the person what they need. (They overload me with data while I ‘bottom line’ them with no data.)

It reminds me of a story I heard recently about a couple whose child had a pet gerbil. The child found the gerbil dead one day and showed it to the mother. When the dad, who was an engineer, came home, the mom sadly relayed what happened. Instead of taking one minute to empathize with what happened, his comment was “they are only $4.95 at Wal-Mart”. As you might expect, this created an unhappy evening at home.

The Platinum Rule

The Platinum Rule is “do unto others as they would have done unto them”. It is a much more powerful rule because this is what deepens relationships, increases results and speeds up interaction with efficiency. It is a tougher rule from the aspect that we must slow down initially in relationships to learn what the other person or team needs and wants and how they need and want it.

The Top 11 ways to accomplish ‘The Platinum Rule’ are:

  1. Ask: the simplest approach is to ask people what they need and want. Sometimes they may not know what they need or want. It may take trying a couple of different approaches and having them tell you which one seemed to work the best. In every relationship, it is good to have an annual checkpoint. Take this time to ask about what is working and what is not and come up with alternative approaches to continually improve the working relationship over time.
  2. Watch for when people ‘light up’: in our coaching, we pay attention to what gets people excited. For example, their voice tone may get louder, or they may lean forward to draw closer to the conversation or they show confidence when they speak, these are indications the topic of the discussion is more important to them. When you get that response then this is the area where you should focus. If they are ‘lighting up’, the odds are good that they are getting what they need. If they get quieter, slower, or withdraw from the conversation then a change in your style and a different direction is required.bright idea
  1. Recreate their past successes: sometimes the way to get through a current roadblock with someone is not to tell them how you would fix it, but instead get an understanding from them of how they were successful in the past. Take the elements of success and recreate those conditions with the current challenge.
  2. Identify past motivations: instead of focusing on behaviors and results, ask them what has motivated them in the past and why they took certain actions. Especially when highly challenged, “What motivated them to persist, be creative and get to the solution even when it seemed impossible?” As they tell you about their past, you will typically find they get excited and are more motivated to handle the current challenge.
  3. Help them see a number of options and let them choose: in our society, sometimes we have a tendency to be very black and white, when looking for “the answer”. Too often it was only the first answer or the most familiar answer. You may never find an answer because there is no perfect answer. To keep ourselves from doing that, help them to “find their own way”, ask them questions to uncover a number of ways to “do unto others as they would have done unto them”.
  4. Show them a small next step: this is a version of the above, but instead of attempting to go the whole distance, ask them what a small next step might be. This will help them get more data to see more clearly what the big answer might be. Asking what might be a simple and low risk next step can help progress to occur. With that small successful next step, then you can begin to get them to pick up speed.

business people up steps

  1. Have them research and give options: while most of us in business are focused on actions and results, sometimes suggesting they stop “doing” and research for a bit will make them feel like we are with them and not imposing our own style. For this to work, it requires more time, but in trying to upgrade someone’s capabilities with their own style, this is a great tactical approach. From their research, they should be able to identify options or the answer.
  2. Study social styles: early on in business, almost 30 years ago, I learned to identify someone’s style within 5 minutes of meeting them. This allowed me to know if I should give facts and figures, the bottom line, talk about family or get their vision of the future. Today, especially given our cultural ADD, it is even more important to be able to identify social style to know who they are with what they need and want.
  3. Use Kolbe instincts: Kolbe is very different from social style and instead measures someone’s natural instincts (conation). By knowing someone’s Kolbe A Index, I can behave in a way that energizes them in interactions that feel natural and work for them. Most of the teams I work with are the reverse Kolbe profile from me, so I absolutely must feed them what they want and not “do unto them as I would have done to me”.
  4. Ask those around them: when we hire someone, we ask for 20 references. The candidates typically think we are asking so that we can make a decision. The reality is we are getting feedback from friends, family, direct reports, peers and bosses so that we understand what we need to do to effectively coach, manage, lead and develop the candidate. Regardless of your relationship with your audience, other people around them sometimes have a better idea of how to help them and also what to not do.
  5. Have them build and share a personal Vision: instead of telling them what their vision should be, find out from them what their vision of the future is and what they want to achieve. Have them tie their vision to success right now by asking them to share with you how their desired future can be impacted by what they are doing now.

Bottom-line, taking the time to understand someone’s needs and wants “the way they need and want it” is an important aspect of deepening relationships and accomplishing more. At the same time, it broadens the audience type and number of people that you can impact.

If you would like to hear more about how to institute The Platinum Rule with your leaders, your team and your culture, call or email Candace at 800-786-4332 or It takes just 30 minutes to get started.

To get a brief overview of Emerging Business Trends for 2016, click here to see Don discuss in the Drive Through With Don Video Blog.

avw-one voice one vision logo



Speak Your Mind


+ 54 = 57