Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

The Platinum Rule by Tony Alessandra

My company uses a manual called For Your Improvement that has book lists for different career skills you want to work on. Some of the books are a little obscure but I love a good recommendation, and for "political savvy" it recommended "The Platinum Rule" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. "political savvy" is on my list of opportunities that I could be a little better at, I can come on a little strong. Various managers have really valued this about me - to a point. You know how that is.

So I picked up "The Platinum Rule" and actually loved this book! I know in my last entry about a personality type book I lamented that all of these were starting to sound the same, too fluffy and unhelpful, stuff I've heard, self-esteem boosts that take what you say in a quiz and turn it around so you feel like you're reading about yourself and think "oh this author gets me" but what's it do for you, in the end? (that entry was about the bestselling "How The World Sees YOU" which I thought was just awful)

Well The Platinum Rule isn't about you. It does have a personality quiz to self-evaluate. The quiz is right there in the book, I really liked that, no clunky one-time online code that doesn't work. But once you take the quiz, it's about identifying behaviors that will help you size up other people and understand how to appeal to their needs.

We don't want want the same things. We don't all want to be treated the same way, or as the golden rule implies, "as you would be treated". Some people really want to know they're going to get ahead of the competition, others would rather we all get along. Some people want excitement, others are reluctant to embrace even the smallest change.

There are four different personality types, based on a two axis grid. The first consideration is how forward you are. If you burst into a room, take control, cut to the chase, jump in with both feet, you're probably either a Director or Socializer. If you hold back and want to take every detail into account, you're a Relator or a Thinker.

The second axis has to do with whether you're more focused on facts or relationships, reminded me of a T/F thing if you've done myers-briggs. If you care about people getting along, want to make sure everyone is heard, value whether they like you, you're a Socializer or a Relator. If you'd rather think things out logically and don't care as much about feelings, you're a Director or a Thinker.

The book is full of examples about how to adjust your communication based on who you're dealing with. My favorite chapter was the one on dealing with change. I tested towards the "Director" style... tell everyone "here's what happened, it's not our choice, deal with it and move on." But I could help people adjust a little easier if I relate to them on their level. Remind the Relators what's *not* changing so they can focus on their comfort zones. Give the Thinkers a detailed account of why this happened. Show the Socializers how the change has created opportunities for them to be a star.

There's a lot about sales, teamwork, work relationships and power.

If this book reminds me of anything it's probably "The 5 Love Languages" which is about marriages. It explains why one spouse will say "I feel so ignored because s/he never buys me anything special" and the other one will say "I'm such a great listener, isn't that all you need?" or whatever. It's interesting. "The Platinum Rule" even mentions in a few places that you have to speak the "language" of whoever you're dealing with. But this one is all about professional relationships.

The authors do caution about sizing people up too quickly, or judging people, or putting them in boxes. But the vast array of different needs discussed in the books make for a wide toolbox, so I feel like if one approach doesn't work, there are others to try. The point is that you need to read people's reactions and don't assume they're just like you. I think that's an all around very good approach.

I will totally admit that lately at work, I have been STUMPED about some people asking me so many questions before we dive into a project. I like to tell people to just hit the road with me, we'll figure out what works along the way... and then I find that not everyone is with me. Now I feel like I have some ideas for things to listen for in their reactions. I'll have some ideas for things they might be looking for, and can leverage their style as a strength for my teams. This book brought up some great strengths that come along as a bonus when you meet someone who's slower and more detail-oriented. I can come from a different place when I encounter them instead of just getting frustrated. Win.
Tags: books, books - business
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