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  • Writer's picturejoel

Teach The Golden Rule in the Workplace!

Setting clear rules for how people should act is important in the sometimes confusing world of human interactions, especially at work, where things change quickly. A moral compass helps us figure out how to deal with our own problems, both with other people and with our future selves. When we can't clearly state our values, it's hard to make decisions because we're torn between wanting something right now and thinking about how it might affect other people or ourselves in the future. In this complicated web, empathy, kindness, vision, and responsibility stand out as the most important values, creating a North Pole for everyone.

Having a North Pole for expected behavior is most important in the workplace. Not only do we need one, but sometimes we have to teach it to others. Sometimes breaking it down can help.


Two of the biggest internal battles we face in our lives are:

1) Those waged against others that are not in alignment with or are in opposition with us.

2) Those battles our current self wages against our future self.


We get caught in a dilemma between determining conflicting possibilities, primarily because we have not established value clarification.  When we don’t value other people’s needs or our future self, as we do our current self, we face the choice between missing out on that instant opportunity and facing the potential future backlash of depriving another or future you. There is always a consequence for prioritizing our current selves over others and our future selves.


Without empathy or compassion, you will always choose selfishness over others. Without vision and conscientiousness, you will always choose instant gratification over delayed gratification. With that said, it is obvious that compassion, empathy, vision, and conscientiousness are all responsible traits associated with a universal North Pole.  These are also almost always at the center of all dramas, misunderstandings, and conflicts that disrupt the workplace culture. 


When it comes to determining our alignment and attraction with the positive magnetic forces in our world, two principles stand out that step from these two internal battles. They are your compass.

We can ask ourselves these two questions almost any time in our lives and they will guide us closer to our North Pole.


The Two Questions:


1. Who does this serve? 

Is the direction I am heading self-serving, or directed toward the wellbeing of others? Do my actions or intentions line up with the Golden Rule?


The Golden Rule states that you should: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”


This rule applies to everyone equally and is the north pole of human motives. It puts us all on common ground with a clear direction for a unified, collaborative mission that is greater than any of our individual interests. Even so, we still get to choose our own polarity. Doing the right thing is optional.


Consider a few common oppositional perspectives:

· The Limestone Rule: “Do to others before they get a chance to do to you.”

· The Sandstone Rule: “When someone doesn’t treat you the way you want to be treated, do not treat them the way they want to be treated.”

· The Clay Rule: “Don’t do any more for others than you need to because they won’t do any more for you.”

· The Gravel Rule: “Wage war against others if you suspect they have waged war against you.”

These are attitudes of the heart, and while they can feel completely natural and justified, they are a clear indication that you are not pointing north.  Make sure you are using the right measuring stick. Heading the wrong direction often feels like going the right direction without a point of reference. Ever got lost feeling certain you were on the right path to discover you were heading the opposite way? Sometimes even when our spouse tries to help us see our wayward misdirected efforts we insist we are right and are in no need of a silly map. Don’t tell me I didn’t just strike a chord.


I have another take on the Golden Rule. I have heard it called the Platinum Rule: “Do to others as they would have you do to them.” This is a take on the Golden Rule with a twist.  The way you would want to be treated may not always be the same as how you wish to be treated. The Platinum Ruled takes it further. We should not assume, but rather find out how others would want you to treat them. It’s the next level of connection that commands the next level of empathy.


2. Does this serve the moment or the future?

Am I choosing the short-term easiest option or the more disciplined option that serves both present and future interests?

The Quartz Rule says: “Do for future-you as you would do for current-you”. Get it, quartz, like a watch?


Or better yet, with a Platinum twist “Do for future-you as future-you would want you to do in the current.”


Ever been asked the question, “If you could go back in time to when you were younger, what advice would you give former you?” Most people will say they wish they had invested more time with family and friends. They wish they would have focused less on getting ahead or not falling behind, and focused more on working on their marriage or connecting with their kids while they were still home. Time flies and we miss so many opportunities when we aren’t fully invested in the future well-being of not only ourselves but others under our care.

As we go through the complicated parts of life, two important questions serve as our guide, showing us the way to our own North Pole. The Golden Rule, which is summed up in the timeless saying "Do to others as you would have them do to you," is the main concept. It goes beyond people's individual goals and gives a clear direction for a group task. However, as we try to learn and follow this rule, we come across opposing points of view that take us away from the true North. "Do to others as they would have you do to them" is the Platinum Rule. When we follow it, our humanity and connection grow, and we better understand what other people need.

"Does this serve the moment or the future?" is the second question that makes us think about time. The Quartz Rule tells us to find a balance between short-term comfort and making smart decisions that will help us now and in the future. With a Platinum twist, we take this idea even further by thinking about what future you would want and understanding the value of investing in relationships and future health. We can find our North Pole and help create a peaceful and forward-looking workplace culture where kindness, understanding, and planning for the future are valued more than individual goals by following these principles. In the end, these principles are like a lighthouse that shows us the way to a future where we care about our own health and the health of those we care for.

Joel Smith


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