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The Platinum Rule: Discover the Four Basic Business Personalities and How They Can Lead You to Success Paperback – February 1, 1998
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
"HAS THE GOLDEN RULE LOST ITS GLITTER?"
You're such a terrific salesperson you could probably sell a stethoscope to a tree surgeon. But from the moment you greet this prospective client, it's obvious he doesn't like you, isn't about to like you, and wouldn't do a deal with you if you were giving the product away.
The conference is packed; you don't know a soul. But then you bump into a stranger and--wow!--it's as if you've been friends forever. Everything that's said and done meshes magically.
As manager, you're fired up about the new program and eager to inspire your employees. You call them in one by one and give them the same lively motivational pitch that so excited you. But you're astonished when their reactions vary from enthusiastic to tepid to hostile.
They're our boon and our bane. They're what makes life so rich and fascinating--and often so frustrating, too. Especially at work, where teamwork and motivation are pivotal.
Most of us never figure people out. We just ricochet through life. We get along great with some people, refuse to deal with others, or deal as little as possible with still others, because they're so--well, different--from us. But what if you knew the secret of those differences? What if there was a simple, but proven, way to build rapport with everyone? To eliminate personality conflicts? To take charge of your own compatibility? To make business mutually beneficial instead of a contest of wills?
You literally hold such a key in your hands. A product of psychological research and practical application, The Platinum Rule is a proven method of connecting with anyone in the workplace. It's fun, easy to use, and helpful to anyone who's curious about what makes themselves and others tick.
You can learn to handle people the way those people want to be handled...to speak to them in the way they are comfortable listening...to sell to people the way they like to buy...to lead people in ways that are comfortable for them to follow.
In business, especially, people all too often create tension and discomfort by assuming we're all pretty much alike. In fact, most of us, if asked about a philosophy of personal relations, probably would recall The Golden Rule which we learned as kids: "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You."
The Downside of The Golden Rule
That's an old and honorable sentiment. A lot of good has been done in the world by people practicing The Golden Rule. As a guide to personal values, it can be a powerful force for honesty and compassion. But as a yardstick for communication, The Golden Rule has a downside.
If applied verbatim, it can backfire and actually cause personality conflicts. Why? Because literally following The Golden Rule--treating people the way you'd like to be treated--means dealing with others from your own perspective. It implies that we're all alike, that what I want and need is exactly what you want and need. But, of course, we're not all alike. And treating others that way can mean turning off those who have different needs, desires, and hopes.
Instead, we suggest honoring the real intent of The Golden Rule by modifying that ancient axiom just a bit. We think the secret to better rela that may be unfair to the individual and uses unrealistic shortcuts to appreciating unique human beings.
But understanding someone's behavioral style isn't mutually exclusive with getting to genuinely know them. Far from it. In fact, using The Platinum Rule can greatly accelerate that process. If you can quickly pick up on another person's needs-based cues and adapt your own behavior, you'll learn to more genuinely value others. You'll see that their needs are just as valid as yours, and you can, if you choose, seek to meet those desires and forge a deeper relationship.
Throughout this book you'll also see that we urge you to improve your listening skills--and give pointers on how to do so. Good listening enriches relationships and in tandem with The Platinum Rule, can help build lasting rapport that is anything but superficial.
Another important point: When we talk about using The Platinum Rule, we're not talking about manipulating people! But, rather, learning, in a way, to speak their language.
It isn't, for example, considered manipulative to speak French when in Paris. Au contraire. It's something you do briefly while on the Frenchman's soil so you can be more compatible. You don't alter your basic nature while in France. Your ideas don't change. But how you present those ideas does change.
Similarly, practicing The Platinum Rule doesn't fundamentally change you or the other person. It empowers you by making you, in a sense, multi-lingual. Knowing how to listen and speak in the "language" of those around you is a delightful, useful tool that can be used to resolve differences, maximize strengths, and enjoy a fuller, more successful life by better understanding yourself and the people around you.
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The book lays out a Myers-Briggs-like model of personality that is customized for the workplace. The social world is segmented into four types of people. "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. Readers can distinguish between the four types by observing others' communication styles and where they focus their attention. 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.
The first five chapters introduce the four personality types and teach readers how to recognize their characteristics in themselves and others. The remaining chapters explore personality's influence on how we "communicate and delegate tasks to, complement and correct, and motivate and counsel" our workplace colleagues. The authors clearly define each style and illustrate interactions between people with different styles. Examples are drawn from management, sales, customer service, team building and other common business interactions. The authors emphasize that their framework is heuristic, that few people operate "purely" from a single style in all situations.
I encountered this book in a Federal government leadership training class. The instructor made effective use of the authors' model in class exercises, convincing me that the book had something to offer. After reading it, I remain convinced. Readers who study personality in-depth may gain more from research based on the general Five-Factor model of personality (see, for example, Personality and Work: Reconsidering the Role of Personality in Organizations ). But first-time supervisors and team leaders can take many practical lessons away from this book. And they will be well prepared for further honing of their leadership skills from an advanced guide, such as Management of Organizational Behavior (9th Edition) by Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson.
So yes, anyone who interacts with people at all should read this. That means you, unless you are reading this review from a lonely mountain top where you live alone. =)
We all are different. We don't all speak the same "language" of ideas, thoughts, behaviors, etc. This book helps you to translate your actions so that they can understand you better.
The only shortcoming of the book is the personality sorter that is presented in the text. It is too short and inaccurate to be of practical use. However, if you just read the type descriptions, you should be able to tell which one you are...alternatively, take one of the many profile tests from other books (e.g. "Please Understand Me II") or on the Internet.
If you are a manager, HR, or involved with team building this is a good read.
Once you have an understanding of the main and sub personality types, it is easier to see how a relator, socializer, thinker or director will interact. This affects how you have in different positions/roles.
There is a test in the book but other personality tests are also available.
In summary, a good book for anyone in business/management.
Top international reviews
This book does a great job of explaining the difficulties and frustrations that arise from not understanding this simple model. I myself apply these concepts where-ever I can and it helps with everyday communication as well as developing instant rapport with new people.
I've also used some of the concepts in this book to try to explain to other people the potential source of their relationship problems with other people (work colleagues, bosses etc). And have found that this model to be useful in understanding my own position better, allowing me to develop new skills to be more effective when dealing with people I know or just met. (The downside it that there a couple of sections you can skip because those sections are teaching other people how to adapt from their own positions.)
This book changes your perspective on social interaction and reading this book will have a profound affect on the way you would otherwise deal with certain people. Most importantly it opens more doors when it comes to establishing relationships and confidence in ones ability to interact with other people.
The book itself is easy to read for all levels, and provides a lot of material to help you better understand how to apply this simple yet effective model in your life.
While there are many other books the describe similar models/concepts this book seems to be one of the better ones because it is more pragmatic and focuses more on how get results.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be better at social interaction and dealing with others, especially introverts (like myself).
It provides an essential tool for developing/expanding your social abilities.