We've all heard of the Golden Rule, which goes something like this: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. In other words, treat other people--in business and in life--the way you yourself would want to be treated.
Well, Dave Kerpen, author of the book The Art of People, says that following the Golden Rule is all wrong. Instead, we should follow what he calls the Platinum Rule.
Says Kerpen, "We all grow up learning about the simplicity and power of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would want done to you. It's a splendid concept except for one thing: Everyone is different, and the truth is that in many cases what you'd want done to you is different from what your partner, employee, customer, investor, wife, or child would want done to him or her."
So Kerpen came up with the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would want done to them. Says Kerpen, "The Golden Rule, as great as it is, has limitations, since all people and all situations are different. When you follow the Platinum Rule, however, you can be sure you're actually doing what the other person wants done and assure yourself of a better outcome."
In his book, Kerpen quotes a story that Dale Carnegie told in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People which illustrates the Platinum Rule:
Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn't think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn't bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: "Wouldn't you like to have that?"
Asks Kerpen, "Why not use the same common sense when you are fishing for people?"