I have been finding a common theme among my clients around wanting to improve and strengthen relationships either in their personal life or at the office. It seems that people are wanting a more trusting, more collaborative and more respectful relationship with spouses, kids, parents, friends, peers, bosses, employees and clients – I mean, who wouldn’t want this?

Think about the potential possibilities that are available with a relationship that is steeped in trust, respect and collaboration…it gives me goose bumps just thinking of it.

Now there is another common theme among these folks. It seems they employ a similar strategy to achieve their desired outcome – the “golden rule”. You know the golden rule treat others in a manner in which you ourselves would like to be treated.

At face value, this “rule” seems like sound practical advice. I mean it is so good that most religions have some version of this rule in their scripture. As good as the principal is I believe the “golden rule” is tarnished. When my clients (with pride mind you) inform me of their “golden rule” approach to developing and enhancing relationships, I typically respond with, “well, what if the person does not wanted to be treated how you like to be treated?”

This is normally met with some form of a dropped jaw and a wide-eyed look of disbelief and confusion. Looking at their faces I feel bad because I just burst their bubble of pride. I provide a little more information and put context around my comment – here is what I share with my clients.

If you really wanted to improve and strengthen a relationship, than you would treat that person, as they wanted to be treated NOT how you want to be treated. Look at it this way:

YOU                                                                                                  The Other Person

– like sarcastic interactions, no matter the topic       -want sincere and respectful discussions

– want private acknowledgement                             -want public fan fare

– are quick thinking and respond immediately          – needs time to process and make a decision

– take and give orders to get the job done                 – does not want to be forced into anything

The golden rule makes sense if it is based on an overarching theme of treating each other with respect. But the rule is just that – over arching, top line, 40,000 ft view of a concept. It is missing the foundation that will allow relationships to improve and strengthen over time. It is missing the meat!

The Platinum RuleSo I offer a new rule…the Platinum Rule! The Platinum Rule dives deeper into understanding what “respect” means to the other person. The Platinum Rule requires you to engage in a conversation with the intent to learn, understand and accept another person’s thoughts, beliefs and feeling. And then, most importantly apply this knowledge to improving and strengthening your relationship.

By practicing the Platinum Rule you will see a difference in all your relationships.

Where do you need apply the Platinum Rule in your world?