The Golden/Platinum Rule of Business

Given unlimited resources (and unlimited understanding from the powers that be), what would you want to change in your organization?

Knowing what’s broken, what’s not delivering desired results, what’s simply not registering high enough in employee surveys is the first step in fixing a problem. It’s also a key question in the first tactic of creating a strategic recognition program – “Establish Program Goals and Objectives.” As we discuss in our new book, Winning with a Culture of Recognition:

“Often the goals of a recognition program begin with the question, ‘What do you want to change?’”

If you fail to establish clear goals for a program before you begin designing it, then you’ll always lack direction for what you’re trying to accomplish and you’ll never be able to measure success. To figure out those goals, it’s often helpful to look at what you’d want to change, whether it be problems or deficiencies in an existing incentive, recognition or employee rewards initiative or in the overall culture of the company.

A post I wrote on “Employee Trust in Its Death Throes” sparked a good deal of conversation in the HR blogosphere. Charlie Green of the excellent “Trust Matters” blog took my post and dove into the issue much more deeply. I encourage readers to click through and read the comment stream to Charlie’s post. In my comment, I focus on something I’d like to see change in organizations:

“[Create] the new golden rule of business: Look out for each other’s best interests.”

Think about it. If we’re all looking out for each other’s best interests, then that means I’d have tens to dozens of people looking out for mine. And if we’re consistently doing that, it’s natural that we begin to care more about those we work with.

Skip Weisman, blogging on an entirely separate topic, introduced the Platinum rule:

“Do unto others as they would like to be done unto.”

This is much more difficult than the traditional golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” because the golden rule presumes everyone wants the same things you do. The platinum rule requires you to step outside that comfort zone and actually come to know and care about what the other person wants, likes and needs.

But you can’t achieve the platinum rule unless you first adopt the new golden rule of business. Regardless, both are critical to goal setting in strategic employee recognition programs – look out for the interests of others, notice them, appreciate their efforts, and recognize them in the way they want to be recognized.

What about you? Did we get these new rules correct? Did I miss a “silver rule?”

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