Explanation of Improving Performance with The Platinum Rule by Ron Kurtus. Key words: behavior style, Golden Rule, director, socializer, relater, thinker, customer, employee, client, adaptable, School for Champions. Copyright © Restrictions
Improving Performance with the Platinum Rule
by Dr. Tony Alessandra (14 August 2004)
Behavior differences are our boon and our bane. They're what make life so rich and fascinating--but often so frustrating, too. Most of us never figure people out. We just ricochet through life, getting along great with some people, refusing to deal with others, and having as little to do as possible with still others because they're so--well, different--from us.
Over the centuries, many attempts have been made to understand people by dividing personalities into categories. Today there are dozens of such models, most of which group behavior into four behavioral styles. Each of us signals our basic type by how we shake hands or organize our office, whether we're chatty or curt on the phone, the way we approach tasks, how we embrace or resist change, the speed and rhythm of our speech, and many other ways.
Questions you may have include:
- What are these behavior styles?
- What are the pluses and minuses of these styles?
- How can you put it into practice?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Along with behavioral scientist Dr. Michael J. O'Connor, I wrote a book The Platinum Rule, which goes deeply into the four behavior styles. My website http://www.Alessandra.com describes the four styles, as follows:
These are forceful, take-charge people: direct, decisive, determined, and often domineering. They're born leaders who are neither shy nor subtle.
Driven by an inner need to get results, they're firm in their relationships with others and more concerned with outcomes than egos. Often in a hurry, always working toward a goal, frequently opinionated, the highly competitive DIRECTORS stir up dust and create energy wherever they go.
The friendly, enthusiastic SOCIALIZERS want to be in the middle of the action, whatever and wherever it is. While also fast-paced, they most value admiration, acknowledgement, and applause.
Flashy and popular, they're trend setters who sport the latest fashions, spout the hippest lingo, and toss around the newest ideas. They're much more people-oriented than task-oriented, but sometimes have the attention span of a flashcube.
The teddy bears of the human zoo, RELATERS make you feel good just by being around. They're the most people-oriented of the four styles. So having close, friendly relationships is one of their highest priorities.
Easy-going and slow-paced, RELATERS believe in self-control and tend to follow the rules. But they dislike conflict so much that they sometimes can be unassertive, overly sensitive, and easily bullied.
Like the DIRECTOR, the THINKER is a results-oriented problem-solver--but in a quieter, more low-key way that's less likely to ruffle feathers.
THINKERS are analytical, persistent, independent, and well organized. Not wanting to call attention to themselves, they prefer to work quietly alone, emphasizing accuracy and "correctness", so much so that they're sometimes seen as aloof, picky, and critical.
Pluses and minuses
You can see that all four styles have pluses and minuses. None are better than others, though some styles may work better in certain situations. DIRECTORS are great leaders who get results but can be ham-handed when it comes to dealing with others; SOCIALIZERS, though warm and energizing, often are disastrous with detail. RELATERS are calm and kind but can easily get stuck in a rut. THINKERS are precise, dependable analysts but often are about as warm and fuzzy as an I.R.S. auditor.
The more familiar you become with other people's styles, the better you'll be able to "speak their language." For instance, you probably wouldn't ask a DIRECTOR to meet over a long, slow lunch; a quick "power" breakfast at 7:15 a.m. would work better. And you wouldn't open a business conversation with a RELATER by reciting your 13-point plan and supporting data; a RELATER would rather get to know you first.
Putting this into practice
So how can this help you with your employees, customers or clients? Well, the old and honorable sentiment of The Golden Rule says, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." That's good as far as it goes, but applied verbatim, it can actually cause personality conflicts. That's because treating people the way you'd want to be treated implies that we're all alike.
Platinum Rule, new outlook
But The Platinum Rule--a kind of newer, more sensitive version of the ancient axiom--suggests: "Do unto others as they'd like done unto them." That is, learn to really understand others--and then handle them in a way that's best for them, not just for you.
You need to adapt so that, while retaining your own identity, you can lead others in the way they like to follow, speak to them the way they are comfortable listening, and sell to them the way they prefer to buy.
Understand your own style
When you understand your own style and how it differs from the styles of others, you can adapt your approach to get on the same wavelength with them. Your ideas don't change, but you can change the way you present those ideas. This is called "adaptability."
Adaptable people realize there is a difference between their self (who they are) and their behavior (how they choose to act). Adaptability is simply changing your behavior, not your personality. Adaptable people consciously decide whether and how to respond to a person, a situation, or an event. Less adaptable people, on the other hand, respond in a more habitual manner, regardless of whether the response is likely to be appropriate or effective.
Getting in sync
Highly adaptable people are good at getting in sync with others because they use their head in determining what behavior works best with whom. Thus, a highly adaptive DIRECTOR would not merely be controlling but, if the situation required, would be more fun loving like a SOCIALIZER, or sensitive like a RELATER, or cautious like a THINKER. Likewise, highly adaptive SOCIALIZERS, RELATERS, and THINKERS see when they need to escape their comfort zones and adapt in the interest of getting the job done.
The antidote to most personality conflicts is just that obvious. Cultivate a style that's adaptable. Give your full attention to the other person and seek to cooperate, not confront.
Some of us adapt easily, naturally; others must work at it because life-long habits of competition and conflict are not altered overnight. But it's doable if you're committed to understanding people's inner needs and then working to meet them. Do so, and you'll find--surprise!--that your needs also will be met.
Think of others to gain top performance
Resources and references
Dr. Tony Alessandra - Website
The Platinum Rule - Website
Tony Alessandra, PhD, CSP, CPAE, earned his MBA from the University of Connecticut and his PhD in marketing from Georgia State University. He was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985 and is a member of the Speakers Roundtable, a group of 20 of the world's top professional speakers.
Dr. Alessandra is a widely published author with 14 books translated into 11 foreign languages including Charisma (Warner Books, 1998); The Platinum Rule (Warner Books, 1996); Collaborative Selling (John Wiley & Sons, 1993); and Communicating at Work (Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1993). He is featured in over 50 audio/video programs and films, including 10 Qualities of Charismatic People; Relationship Strategies (American Media); The Dynamics of Effective Listening (Nightingale-Conant); and Non-Manipulative Selling (Walt Disney).
Recognized by Meetings & Conventions Magazine as "one of America's most electrifying speakers," Tony's polished style, powerful message and proven ability as a consummate business strategist consistently earns rave reviews.
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