The Golden Platinum Rule
You have heard it say, “Treat others as you would want to be treated”. However, in project management, we replace this Golden rule with the Platinum rule. It says, “Treat others as they want to be treated”.
Organizational theories teach us that we are all different. Theory X and Y, for example, measures how we want to be managed, whether more in the X or Y direction. The theory of Needs says that we all have 3 needs: Power, Achievement, Affiliation, but in different measures. We even handle conflict different as found by French & Raven. Some use “smoothing”, others “coercion”, and yet others “reconciliation”, etc. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs illustrates that we can be a different step in the pyramid. The Myers-Briggs personality model classifies us into 16 different personalities.
It is clear, then, that the “Platinum Rule” is a refinement of the “Golden Rule”. It goes one step further, by assuming that each one is differently, and likes to be treated as such. The Golden Rule assumes that everyone likes what you like, and behaves the way you behave. The Platinum Rule does take extra effort, since you have to learn how best to interact with each person. You have to observe, modify your interactions, and learn from trial and error. The upside is that your communications is more effective, your efforts become more fruitful, and your influence enhanced.
As business professionals, whether business analysis, project managers, functional mangers, etc., we need to progressively evolve. By using the Platinum Rule, you are taking a big step in the right direction.