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 Chemistry
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 behavioral
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 styles.
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 the roses.
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
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.,
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 players.
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, and balance.
In the office, Relaters are courteous, friendly, and willing to share
responsibilities. They are good planners, persistent workers, and good
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
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.
Adapting To Socializers
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
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
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
With Thinkers, in general, be
thorough, well-prepared, detail-oriented, business-like, and patient.
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."