Do Unto Others…

Golden Rule

No doubt we’re all familiar with the Golden Rule which states that we are to do unto others what we would have done unto us.

There is also a counterpart, often described as the Platinum Rule, which advises that, when possible… do unto others what they would have done unto them.

Of course, the first one we can always do… we know what we want.

The second one, however, requires knowledge of the other party’s wishes… which, of course, can get pretty tricky if we make assumptions on unreliable information. We may think we know what they want… but contextual change provides for an ever moving target.

I think there are some pretty safe bets, though… areas where the Golden and Platinum Rules intersect. When it comes to traits like trust… loyalty… and respect; or unconditional love… forgiveness, and second chances. These qualities and desires are at the heart of humanity… and transcend race, creed, culture, and social strata.


It seems that stress and economics often take a toll on people’s sensibilities when it comes to their dealings with others; tough times tend to reveal what’s really going on inside. And when individuals are hurting… they often tend to reach out to hurt others. Second chances… which we all need… sometimes seem to be in short supply.

Recently, I’ve seen a growing number of online resources dedicated to exacting revenge on business for perceived wrongs… poor customer service and experience… generally bad management. And I’m not talking about some of the mega-businesses that probably deserve it.

No, this has been more localized… ordinary folks, on message boards and blogs, publicly ranting about very trivial things… situations that could be easily remedied… if only we were doing unto others, what we… and they… would like done.


I believe in second chances… both giving them, and receiving them. Years ago, I learned the concept of “Praise publicly… discipline privately.” I must admit it’s come in pretty handy, having had over fourteen thousand employees since 1987.

If you want to make a difference in the service you are receiving from a business, the same advice will work with just about any CEO, president, or owner… especially of a small business or service company.

Praise publicly… discipline privately.

I can count on one hand, the number of closely-held business leaders I’ve met who weren’t open to honest, constructive advice and criticism… okay, one hand and two fingers. At the same time, I’ve never met one who didn’t enjoy public recognition.

So, that’s it… praise publicly… discipline privately.

Next time you’re tempted to rant… on the phone to a friend… or online to the world… try this instead. Call the company and ask to speak with person at the top… not customer service… not PR… not their assistant… the person at the top.

Tell whoever answers the phone that although many people would just go online and tell ten thousand people about the bad experience they just had with the company… it’s not your style… you just know that Joe or Mary So-And-So would appreciate honest feedback from a loyal customer who wants to continue doing business with them… and recommending business to them.

If they’re leaders… they’ll be listening.



When is the last time someone really gave you a second chance… or the benefit of the doubt?

How did you feel afterwards, and what was the effect on the relationship?

How can you apply the principle of “Praise publicly… discipline privately” to your work, your parenting, or your personal relationships?


I look forward to speaking with you soon.


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