Forget the “Golden Rule”, adopt the “Platinum Rule”


The Golden Rule states: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

The Golden Rule is cited so often it seems like a wonderful and positive aspiration.

However, the first time someone tells you about the Platinum Rule and suggest you “upgrade” your standards to Platinum, typically you’ll have a thought that often happens when you hear a piece of true wisdom and that is: “that seems so obvious”.

So now you’ve heard it, let’s talk a bit about it so you can look to where you might apply it, as well as where you may already have done so, or perhaps where you might see a real change if you use it in your next interaction with that person.

For me, a powerful linkage to this in terms of “upgrading my humanware”, as they call it, came from Travis Carson and Tony Cooper of Market Force Global. I was introduced to these two amazing guys in my early days with Shirlaws. In fact I met Travis at a retreat in the UK in 2012 and we shared a room. I ended up keeping him up late into the night as he explained Market Force Styles to me. I was hooked. I learned about it voraciously from him and then Tony over the next year, and from 2013 onwards have been a huge ambassador for Market Force and use the tools and learnings both personally and professionally daily.

Market Force brings awareness to us of our styles and preferences around styles. The Market Force system is hugely deep, but to begin with I encourage taking thier indicator on their site.

As for me, my predominant Market Force style is that of an “Influence”. Among other things, I go a lot by feel, I’m about human connection, understanding, stories, colours, sights etc.

I was reminded of all of this last week as Tony Cooper asked me to be interviewed for an upcoming book they are writing on the Platinum Rule. Am sure it will be a powerful tool for many.

The interviewer asked me for specific stories so let me give you one for now.

The night before my interview I’d attended an evening event for their London-based members by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland. Yes, I’m a member of that body, I joke that “I’m a recovering accountant, the first step is acknowledging that you have a problem!”.

I’d already had a long day, and knew I had to leave after the event to get home for a 9pm planning call with a Cayman client for an upcoming event. Around 6:30 one of the speakers got up and started their presentation.

As the first slide came up, there was my nightmare. Bullet point after bullet point, no pictures, slides full of words, no colours. Oh no, and yes he did, he started reading out the slides. No stories, very little energy or colour added. October 2018 and there it was, “death by powerpoint”.

I could feel my frustration rising. 6:30pm and could we please have something beyond what I could have read in an email attachment? Why is he wasting our time reading all of this?

However, I then caught myself. I looked around. Most of the audience of accountants were in rapt attention. Many were taking detailed notes.

I had made the mistake of applying the Golden Rule, I wanted him to treat me the way I wanted to be treated. In considering the Platinum Rule, I recognised that just because I wasn’t happy with his style of presenting, many in the audience were. This immediately shifted and relaxed my energy.

Now, that is one story, I could give many more. However, let me keep it simple. Keep awareness of the Platinum Rule top of mind, then this will encourage you to pay close attention to others and gain clarity as to the best way to work with them, to communicate with them.