The Golden Rule

Instead of heading to meet my fiancé for a fun-filled weekend, I was on a plane headed to Oklahoma City planning a corporate audit of the company’s clinical services. Joining me were all the lead quality improvement professionals across our rehabilitation fields and company divisions. There was much work to be done to complete the audit in a timely manner and make our report to the Corporate leadershipaudit

Over the next ten days we worked tirelessly examining patient records, clinical documentation, interviewing patients, and facility personnel. Our evenings were spent reviewing data collected, identifying additional data needs, and planning for next steps. Exhausted,  everyone departed for home confident that we had completed successfully the audit, identified what was working, areas needing improvement and had developed sound recommendations.

After arriving home, immediately the audit report was finalized, circulated to the team for review,  and feedback. Then it was about preparing for my meeting with the Company President. Our audit had identified processes that could be improved, but more importantly it recognized the need for people development. Our direct service providers needed training in areas that put our company at risk.  Our supervisors weren’t as effective as they could be in managing and utilizing assistants and aides. Investing in our people would minimize future risk and increase productivity, patient, and customer satisfaction.The people development recommendations came with a  hefty price tag in that we were the largest employer of rehabilitation professionals next to the Veteran’s Administration. My job was to convince the President of the company benefits that would be derived as a result of its investment.   As an officer of the company, I was aware of the need to meet our  return to stockholders’ projections.  I had to make sure that the proposed cost  of our recommendations would not jeopardize that commitment. Our chairman always reminded us that “our word is our bond.” So I ran our numbers by the Chief Financial Officer. auditreportAfter integrating his feedback, I was confident that the audit report was comprehensive, accurate, and justified our  recommendations. Next, it was time to share the audit report with the President.

The President looked over the report, listened attentively to my presentation, asked a few questions, and then indicated that the recommendations were too costly. He then asked me if I knew about the golden rule. Why of course, as a child my parents had taught me “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But what did that have to do with the company and my recommendations? (I thought) Seeing my puzzled look, the President realized that we were not talking about the same rule. He then said, “I think you may not have heard about the golden  rule I am referencing- “He who has the gold sets the rules.” rememberThe President was right, this was a new rule for me. At that moment I realized so often conflicts I had experienced in decision making had resulted from my lack of understanding this rule. If a person who has the gold differs in perspective from those making recommendations, then the person with the gold will always rule! In that instance, I recognized the importance of “having the gold.” Later, I launched my business  in pursuit of building a company that creates the gold so that I could begin setting my rules. Today, my attention is directed toward growing a B.E.S.T. movement that “brings out the B.E.S.T. in people and organizations.”   I get to set the rules!




Author: ourbestmovement

I am the founder and leader of the B.E.S.T. Movement. My favorite destination is my hometown, Daytona Beach. I just love sunshine, blue skies, the ocean, and seafood. My passion for outcomes led me to the discovery that B.E.S.T. drives results. Now I want to share what I have learned with others so that they too can reach their favorite destinations.

One thought on “The Golden Rule”

  1. Hi, Pat. I hope you are well and looking forward to a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    This particular post caught my attention on two levels, one of which may fit your B.E.S.T. Movement more easily than the other.

    The idea that he who has the gold makes the rules was not new to me, and I still see evidence of it being practiced in my consulting, though a growing number of people seem to be outgrowing this very old world image of the world. After getting burned a couple of times by this (I’m a slower learner than you) I changed one aspect of my prework/contracting with potential new clients. I try to learn as early as possible where the money is coming from and what implications that may have for the project. Sometimes I learn that there is probably sufficient alignment that the project will likely proceed on a good path. However, in the spirit of inviting people to step into their B.E.S.T. potential, I have found that if I can engage the person/group with the gold in dialogue (do onto others) they sometimes are willing to take the risk. Sometimes those clients make the greatest strides.

    The other level was triggered, in part, by the fact that Christmas and Hanukah start the same day this year. The golden rule that you and I grew up with invites us all to treat one another in the spirit of mutual respect and spiritual love. However, in my work over the years in some very contentious settings I found some people turning the spiritual guidance upside down. In response to my asking a variation of “Is that really the way you want to approach this situation… how would you feel if they approached you that way?” I heard a some variation of a defiant “Bring it on… I’m ready.”

    I know that this is a distortion and not how most people I know take the golden rule, but I have heard enough of the other framing to take it seriously. However, as I began my studies in earnest to convert to Judaism I heard the Golden Rule framed as follows: A man asked Rabbi Hillel (who lived about the same time as Jesus) to teach him the entire Torah, the five books of Moses, while standing on one foot. And Hillel did. “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That’s the whole Torah.” he said. “All the rest is commentary. Now go and study.”

    At first it struck me as a relatively simple, almost superficial distinction. Over time the distinction has become important to me (which, as you will know from our own history, is not to say one way is better or more correct than the other, nor is it to imply that Christianity or Judaism, is somehow better or worse for the distinction. I think both call us to be our B.E.S.T.) What I have found in my life is that the more I work in intercultural settings the harder it is to know what the right thing to do is. I am able and willing to learn what the right thing to do is in different settings, but, in a pinch, knowing not to act in a hateful way seems more clear and to be more consistent among most cultural and faith traditions. It seems to me this perspective is implicit in the 10 Commandments. Except for honoring the Sabbath, our mothers and our fathers, the rest have to do with what NOT to do.

    As you have heard me say often, I tend to explore both/and approaches to apparent paradox and polarities, rather than either/or. With respect to these two framings of the Golden Rule I choose to embrace both/and. For me, not acting in a hateful way is a starting point, which gives me the time, space and initial connection to learn enough to be able to act more affirmatively as a relationship grows and we achieve mutual respect and understanding.


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