A group of us were talking about varying communication style based on your audience and one of my colleagues related the following story: she depended on a person to provide report mock ups for her user stories. This person was driving her crazy, because she would send a detailed list of everything that she needed, and only get about half of what she asked for. This happened repeatedly. After a heated exchange, she came to the realization that even though she loves lists and works very effectively from them, the person she was working with did not. At all. She changed her approach to using interactive review and requests and not only are her dependencies being met, their relationship is on a much better footing.
I mentioned that this situation was a specific case of the platinum rule and was surprised to find out that even though the group all knew the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” they had not heard of the platinum rule, “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” As product managers and business analysts, we work with a lot of different people. And, understanding the platinum rule can make not only our lives easier, but also those of the people we work with.
Some people find the platinum rule jarring at first—you’re not supposed to treat everyone the same? However, when you think about it more it starts to make sense–people are different, so they don’t all want to be treated the same.
In The Platinum Rule, Dr. Tony Alessandra gives tips for applying the platinum rule to different behavior preferences. I’m not great at body language/quick identification of styles, so I tend to use the golden rule until I learn the preferences of a person I am working with. I then try to adapt to their preferences.