The Platinum Rule: What is It and How Does it Apply to You?

The Platinum Rule: What is It and How Does it Apply to You? 640 427 C-Suite Network

by Tony Alessandra

via Micael Engström

via Micael Engström

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: The Director, Socializer, Relater and Thinker. 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.

  1. Directors
    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 headfirst 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.
  2. Socializers
    The Socializer’s primary strengths are enthusiasm, charm, persuasiveness and warmth. They are friendly and enthusiastic, and they like to be where the action is. They thrive on admiration, acknowledgment and compliments. They are “idea people” who excel at getting others excited about their vision. They are eternal optimists with an abundance of charisma — qualities that help them influence people and build alliances to accomplish their goals.Socializers care less about winning or losing than how they look while playing the game. As wonderful as Socializers may sound, they do have their weaknesses: impatience, an aversion to being alone and a short attention span — they become bored easily. Socializers are risk-takers who base many of their decisions on intuition, which is not inherently bad. When given only a little data, however, Socializers tend to make sweeping generalizations. Some of them are, therefore, exaggerators. Socializers are not inclined to do their homework or check out information. They are more likely to assume someone else will do it.
  3. Thinkers
    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 outgoing, e.g. Socializers.Thinkers have high expectations of themselves and others, which can make them overly critical. Their tendency toward perfectionism, when 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.
  4. Relaters
    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-averse. 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 with following through. 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: their need for security, their need to avoid risk and their desire to include others in the decision-making process.

The Platinum Rule provides powerful life skills that will serve you well in all your relationships, from business to friends, family, spouse and children.

*This blog originally appeared at

Hear more from Dr. Tony Alessandra in his interview with C-Suite Radio.

Tony_Alessandra-559410-editedTony Alessandra is the CEO of Assessment Business Center, a company that offers online 360º assessments, and a founding partner in the Platinum Rule Group, a company which has successfully combined cutting-edge technology and proven psychology to give salespeople the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with hundreds of clients and prospects. Tony is also prolific author with 27 books translated into more than 50 foreign language editions. Dr. Alessandra was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAlessandra.