The Golden Rule is flawed, says Phoebe Netto of Sydney PR firm, Good Business Consulting

Why your understanding of the Golden Rule is flawed


The Golden Rule is flawed, says Phoebe Netto of Sydney PR firm, Good Business Consulting


The Golden Rule states that you should treat others as you want to be treated, but we often overlook the fact that other people may not want to be treated the same way.


Do you know the Golden Rule? ‘Do unto others…’ is an ethical principle, a guideline to behaviour, that says you should treat others as you want to be treated.

But many people’s interpretation of The Golden Rule is flawed because they assume that all people want to be treated the same way. Or even worse, that they all want to be treated like you want to be treated. If that were the case, I’d be giving free massages to people I meet in the street, whether or not they wanted to be touched by a stranger. My version of gold simply doesn’t suit everyone.


Accommodating difference

People are motivated by vastly different things and operate differently. Some people seek recognition of their achievements through public acknowledgement whereas others shun the spotlight and find reward in getting the job done without being the centre of attention.

The same goes for your customers. One person might want to do lots of research about your business before making a decision. Another might want to find your phone number quickly to make an instant decision. Or you might catch someone’s attention with distinctive packaging and great visual design whereas another person might only be convinced to purchase from you by talking to one of your staff.

Our implementation of the Golden Rule needs to respect and includes difference – after all, that is how we want to be treated. Perceptive people discern how other people like to be treated, and they adjust their behaviour and style to make others feel comfortable.

This rule applies to how you do everything. Smart businesses find how their ideal customers like to be treated and how they want to do business, and they make sure they cater to that. It should influence everything from how you communicate with your customers and what your website says and how it is formatted, to what special touches you include in your product or service. It should be the driver for how you sell your offering and how you present yourself, as well as what your business associates itself with, and more.


Lead with the customer in mind and you’ll really have the Golden Rule in action.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *