Archive for May 20th, 2011

May 20, 2011

Stop Following the Golden Rule!

That’s right. I want you to stop following the Golden Rule. I know your parents probably told you it was the right way to behave, the nice way to behave, but it’s not. 

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I’ll admit it does have a nice ring to it. But, think about it. It’s ego-centric not donor-centered; it assumes that the way I wish to be treated is the one way everyone should want to be treated. Behave this way in fundraising, and you will alienate prospects and raise far less money than would otherwise be possible.

Tony Alessandra, PhD, CSP, CPAE, President of the Assessment Business Center, explains it further and offers an alternative: 

The Golden Rule is not a panacea. Think about it: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ The Golden Rule implies the basic assumption that other people would like to be treated the way that you would like to be treated. That is patently false. In fact, it could be argued that the Golden Rule is a self-centered rule—and not unlike a traditional salesman who assumes his product is right for his prospect and approaches the sale without considering the prospect’s needs. In sales—and relationships—one size (yours) does not fit all. With the Golden Rule, you run a greater risk of creating conflict than chemistry. After all, people have different needs, wants, and ways of doing things. The alternative to the Golden Rule is much more productive. I call it the Platinum Rule: ‘Treat others the way they want to be treated.’ Ah-hah! Quite a difference. The Platinum Rule accommodates the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from ‘this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing’ to ‘let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.’ Building rapport with people based on the Platinum Rule requires some thought and effort, but it is the most insightful, rewarding, and productive way to interact with people.

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