We are spending a lot of time here on The Platinum Rule®; as an owl, I find it fascinating that humans are so complex! Talk fast, slow down, make instant decisions, expect delays; this is all very interesting.
The Platinum Rule® model of human behavior is very similar to DiSC (has four quadrants), and to the Myers Briggs' Type Indicator (MBTI). Anne is certified in all three models and I wondered why she chose The Platinum Rule® over the others.
"There are three big advantages to The Platinum Rule® model," said Anne.
"First of all, the model focuses on the challenge of effectively connecting with others, predominantly in the workplace.
Secondly, the model defines the external, observable behaviors that identify the profiles of other people.
Thirdly, the model demonstrates how to adapt your own behavior to better interact and communicate with other people.
"Do you remember the four profiles?" she asked. When I nodded, she invited me to describe them.
"Directors are firm and forceful, confident and competitive, decisive and determined risk-takers. Socializers are outgoing, optimistic, enthusiastic people who like to be at the center of things. Relaters are genial team players who like stability more than risk, and who care greatly about relationships with others. Thinkers are self-controlled and cautious, preferring analysis over emotion.
"Directors and Socializers both prefer open and direct communication, whereas Relaters and Thinkers are more reserved and indirect. Directors and Thinkers focus on work tasks, in contrast to Relaters and Socializers, who focus on people" I replied.
"Yes, I understand that we can identify the profile of a person by their behaviors, such as the pace at which they speak, how quickly they make decisions, whether they are more concerned about the people or the bottom line.
"What I really want to know, why YOU chose to adopt and advocate for The Platinum Rule®?"
"Well," said Anne. "I needed to become a better leader. Before The Platinum Rule®? I was aware of my own style, and I thought I was helping my leadership team when I told them how to deal with me. For example, I told them to always carry a pen and paper, ready to take notes. And I told them that I talk fast, so fast that I sometimes leave out words or even whole sentences as my brain works faster than I can speak at times. I explained that they should ask questions if they are not clear on the assignment, that I would answer as many questions as it takes until they are clear. But, once they leave my office, it is their responsibility to go away and complete the task.
"Usually, they would nod, or say "Understood." Then I would go on outlining what was to be done. It didn't take long before a confused look would settle on the listener's face, and they would want to ask a question. I would be annoyed at being interrupted, tsk, roll my eyes, and say, "Where did I lose you?"
"Of course, no one could ever tell me where they got lost because they were LOST. Then as I mentioned last week, I would repeat what I had said, slowly and loudly.
"After one or two sessions like that, my team members would listen carefully, make notes, tell me they understood, leave my office and make a beeline for my associate, my 'Second in Command', to ask, "What do you think she means by this?"
"I was an ogre. One brave soul told me that I was the worst boss EVER! And I knew I had to make a dramatic change. Instead of demanding that others communicate the way I do, I needed to understand what they needed from me.
"When I encountered The Platinum Rule® I was embarrassed to learn how other people were struggling with my behavior and why they didn't want to ask me questions. This was a lightbulb moment for me.
"I immediately enrolled in the certification program and began to adapt my behavior to better align with the rest of my team. Since they are all knowledge workers, spending their days engaged with programming and systems, it will come as no surprise they were mostly Thinkers. They could not process what I was saying, they did not want to be pushed, they were reluctant to commit to a delivery schedule, my behavior made them feel stupid, and we were all frustrated.
"For our very next staff retreat, we all completed the self-assessment. I presented the theory and the application of The Platinum Rule® and gave my team scenarios to work through. We practiced identifying people by their behavior and preparing action plans to address the problems presented. We also spent time role-playing how we would adapt to different profiles.
"Following that retreat, the entire team functioned more effectively! And, next week I will tell you about what that meant in our workplace."