The Golden Rule is great. I love the Golden Rule. The point of this column is not meant to be detrimental in any way to the tremendous value found in the Golden Rule. The thought behind this post is that the Platinum Rule builds upon the foundation of the Golden Rule, going one step further for even better results.

It’s unclear who, exactly, coined the expression Platinum Rule — treating others as they would like to be treated. I had not heard of the Platinum Rule until just a few years ago. The first time I heard the expression was when it was used by one of my college professors in my doctoral program. Upon hearing this expression, I was struck by both the simplicity of the words, and by the power of their meaning.

To me, the Platinum Rule is the building block for strong relationships and for serving others. It is strongly related to the skill of listening well as a means of understanding. The Platinum Rule is all about empathy, understanding, and shifting perspective. If you’re going to be great in serving others, it’s imperative to really get to know those you’re expected to serve.

In the world of education, I think we can be “pretty good” by attempting to serve everyone well. If our goal is excellence, and truly about helping each and every student become the most successful version of herself/himself, we need to go further. We need to know and really understand the motivations, passions, dreams, challenges, and desires of each individual student. Without this deeper understanding, we simply cannot reach the ultimate level of service that comes from treating others as they would like to be treated. We simply cannot assume that another’s version of success or happiness aligns precisely with our own definition.

To develop a deeper understanding of what it takes to treat another as they would like to be treated takes time and purposeful interaction. There has to be two-way communication in order to learn what really motivates another person. To be successful using the Platinum Rule a meaningful relationship has to be developed. There is research showing the correlation between relationships, and components of relations, with improved student learning. I strongly believe successfully employing the Platinum Rule leads to stronger relationships and improved student learning.

Mike Redmond is the Superintendent of Shakopee Public Schools and author of the blog, Redmond’s Rules. Each blog post provides deeper meaning and more clarity to each of the 15 rules that make up Redmond’s Rules. To read recent posts, visit:


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