Love as a Platinum Strategy

EPISODE 16

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Have you heard of the “Platinum Rule”? Our guest in this episode, Kandace Cooks, introduced us to this concept. She has devoted her life and career to following the Platinum Rule, and we have an amazing time diving into this concept - and how we might apply it to our lives. And of course, what’s love got to do with it?

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Feel the love! We aren't experts - we're practitioners. With a passion that's a mix of equal parts strategy and love, we explore the human (and fun) side of work and business every week together.

JeffProfile

Jeff Ma
Director

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kandace.cooks

Kandace Cooks
D&I Professional for a Fortune 500 Tech Company

ChrisProfile

Chris Pitre
Vice President

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frank.danna

Frank Danna
Director

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Transcript

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Jeff Ma
Hello, and welcome to love as a business strategy, a podcast that brings humanity to the workplace. We're here to talk about business. But we want to tackle topics that most business leaders shy away from, and we believe that humanity and love should be at the center of every successful business. I'm your host, Jeff Ma. I'm a director at Softway an agency based out of Houston, Texas, that specializes in digital transformation, culture, and branding. And each episode, we'd like to dive into one element of business or strategy and test our theory of love against it. Now, some of you might be wondering about the title of today's episode. Well wonder no more, we're going to be talking about platinum and no, not about Platinum selling albums or precious metals. We're going to be talking about the Platinum rule. It's a concept related to the well known golden rule that you might have heard of, or even live by. So we want to break that open a little bit. And I actually heard, I first heard about this concept through our guest today. And I'm really excited to have her here with us today. Her name is Kandace Cooks. And she is the CEO of Kandace and company, inclusive solutions. Kandace, welcome to the show.

Kandace Cooks
Thank you for having me, Jeff. I'm so glad that you invited me to this podcast because I have a public opportunity to ensure Chris is not the supreme shade-thrower at Softway, so thank you.

Jeff Ma
Oh, well, we're going already we've started the podcast just started. So as you guys can tell, there are two other people here on this show. We also have Chris Pitre. Vice President at Softway. Hello, Chris.

Chris Pitre
Hello, I am Chris and I am the favorite child of my mom. So, it's nice to be here.

Jeff Ma
We're gonna dive into that in a little bit. And Frank Danna, hello, Frank director at Softway.

Frank Danna
Hey, Jeff.

Jeff Ma
He's like, I got no, I got no horse in this race. But before we begin, Kandace, could you give us a quick intro or, you know, introduce yourself a little bit?

Kandace Cooks
What? People want to know who I am?

Jeff Ma
I do.

Kandace Cooks
So, I have the pleasure of serving the business world as a diversity and inclusion practitioner. And so I've spent roughly 12 of the last years of my career dedicated to strategizing and implementing inclusive solutions for Fortune 500 tech companies and globally recognized education companies. And so this has been quite a journey, professionally, and I, I all I can say is that I'm incredibly grateful to be in a position to have learned all of the things that I've learned, especially given today's climate, and this sort of renewed and energy around inclusive solutions, and establishing cultures of belonging in various workplace settings around the world.

Jeff Ma
Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much. for joining us here. I'm really excited to dive into all that experience and knowledge that you have. But before we get into it, there's some orders of business we have to take care of. There's two things. Number one, we always do icebreakers. So we got to do that. And number two, we got to talk about your relationship to Chris Pitre. So let's just get that out of the way. Okay. Who would like to go ahead or an introduce that relationship? What's going on here?

Chris Pitre
So I guess I'll go the listeners probably like me more just like our parents. So the person here that has joined us, Kandace, is my sister. Older by 18 months, so pretty close in age. And we... it's backwards, so I don't know what to say.

Kandace Cooks
Oh, man. I went through the trouble of writing it in reverse. Hang on.

Jeff Ma
What does it say? So for the listeners..

Frank Danna
It's reversed on the, just to be clear..

Kandace Cooks
It's reversed on the board because

Frank Danna
Wow

Kandace Cooks
I thought that it was going to show up in reverse. But these skills, people, skills, okay.

Kandace Cooks
What does that say?

Kandace Cooks
I wrote "ignore Chris" and a smiley face on the on the whiteboard behind me. Um, so for all of you who are joining us on YouTube, you get to see the skills of my ability to write um..

Jeff Ma
Mirrored.

Kandace Cooks
...quite profoundly mirrored.

Frank Danna
Wow.

Kandace Cooks
And so I am going to reverse this because this is going to come in handy throughout our conversation.

Chris Pitre
Yeah. I will say what you're seeing is the skill that I gave her so if you'll notice that my sister and I have very similar handwriting.

Frank Danna
Yes, I was about to say it looks identical.

Chris Pitre
You can thank me.

Frank Danna
It's reversed on the screen.

Jeff Ma
They assured me that this

Frank Danna
I'm just kidding.

Jeff Ma
So they assured me that the sibling relationship would not get in the way. But it seems like...

Frank Danna
It's only been three minutes.

Jeff Ma
...we've already begun, and I love it. So, let's go into the icebreakers because this is not love as a sibling strategy. Okay. We need to get

Kandace Cooks
Yeah, is it when we record shade as a sibling strategy call me.

Jeff Ma
Okay. Well, I def, I can see that you two can do that episode, by yourselves.

Frank Danna
I don't want to be there.

Jeff Ma
Let's just

Kandace Cooks
For the record, I am roughly 20 months older than Chris. And it was I who taught him how to write. He was in awe and completely jealous of my abilities to pen the English language in ways that he could not access. And so I taught him. Just to be clear.

Jeff Ma
If you're not watching on if you're if you're listening to this, go go find it on YouTube, because the facial expressions here are much more...

Chris Pitre
I recall none of these alleged incidents.

Jeff Ma
So we're, we're we're six minutes in the show. And they've already given conflicting accounts of how how much older she is.

Frank Danna
There's a discrepency.

Jeff Ma
He said 18 months, She said 20 months. I don't even know what to believe anymore.

Kandace Cooks
Either way, 18, 20, close enough, 19, there we go. I was born in August of 82, and he was born in April of 84. Y'all do the math. And yes, I just put his his business out in the streets. So it's cool.

Jeff Ma
Wow, well, well, we got a show to do. Let's let's, let's get into it. Let's get into the icebreakers. Let's start with this. And it's funny because I have I have our amazing executive producer Maggie write these for me, and I just read them the first time. This will be an interesting segue, Kandace, I'm gonna start with you. The question for you is what's your favorite thing about Chris?

Kandace Cooks
Um, my favorite thing about Chris is his inability to recall information.

Frank Danna
Oh my gosh.

Kandace Cooks
Okay, Frank, now that you're back, my favorite thing about Chris is his thoughtful approach to not only business but the way he works with his team. So team, if he is doing anything that you do not agree with talk to me, we have taught him better. But I do appreciate the things that I watch from a distance and the way that he engages his team. And his attempts to be pretty thoughtful and inclusive in the way that he shows up in the workplace. And I think that goes a long way and ultimately, is something that grooms professionals as they are navigating their career and the professional space. And so that that is lifelong moments that people get to cherish and I'm so glad that I was able to teach him how to be a great human.

Jeff Ma
Oh my God, we got to get through the icebreakers y'all.

Frank Danna
It's so good, though. This is it.

Jeff Ma
Chris. Chris, your question is, what's your favorite thing about Kandace? What is your favorite thing about Kandace?

Chris Pitre
So that is a very great question. I don't know how to come up, come back after her attacks. I'm just kidding. No, I think for me, it's actually seeing her work and seeing her not just work, but also be a mother. And, you know, juggle everything. So taking care of three kids plus a bustling career, and still be on top of everything and on top of her kids and making sure that they have what they need, but are sort of growing up in the way that we were trained as individuals, and ensuring that balls don't drop and, you know, not being set back by anything that comes against her.

Jeff Ma
So these kids are being groomed in the art of the shade early is that..?

Kandace Cooks
Oh, yeah.

Chris Pitre
Yes. They actually do throw shade at each other very well. I have to hear that. Like I just, I just sit in awe and listen to them sometimes. That was actually a really good, really good. Like that planted very well. I have to commend you guys on that.

Jeff Ma
All right, Frank.

Kandace Cooks
They do a really good job. My daughter was awarded I think two years ago at her school, a shade thrower of the year, so...

Jeff Ma
They're awarding those things at school?

Kandace Cooks
Hey, you all enroll your kids in KIP, they look at the whole student, not just academics.

Jeff Ma
All right, Frank, your question.

Frank Danna
It's a one-word answer, right?

Jeff Ma
Do you wish you were also related to Chris and Kandace?

Frank Danna
Oh, 100%. 100%.

Jeff Ma
And why?

Frank Danna
I love these people like honestly like what some of the most incredible human beings I've ever met. And also, you know, the the Pitre family has an incredible I would say collection of food that has been that surfaces every once in a while. Yeah, it is now woven into my family's Thanksgivings and Christmases as traditions. And so I just think number one, just to be around a family that has the capacity for that much shade throwing. And to eat the most delicious food quite literally you've ever had.

Jeff Ma
You wouldn't last. You wouldn't last a week.

Frank Danna
I wouldn't last a minute. Just Just the level of shade would crush me into.. like a Coke can.

Jeff Ma
You'd just be like in the corner in a fetal position? Like all the time.

Frank Danna
I just want to be in the room.

Chris Pitre
That has only happened one time, Jeff that is not...

Frank Danna
But I will say the corn casserole, the corn casserole is legendary in my house as a result of them.

Kandace Cooks
Oh, that's awesome.

Frank Danna
Yeah, really good.

Jeff Ma
All right. Let's do this. Let's dive in. Kandace, please tell us like cuz I, you know, I want to break into a lot of the stuff you're doing, like the great stuff you're doing in business and all that other stuff. But what really drew my attention, our initial conversation was what you called the Platinum rule. Can you explain what that is?

Kandace Cooks
Yeah, absolutely. So I learned, oh, it was a few years back. And I wish I could accredit the person who taught me. So forgive me for not remembering. But I've engaged with so many people around the world. And one of the things that somebody taught me when I was pretty early on in my career as a D&I practitioner, and um, someone brought up the golden rule in the room in the group, as we were having a discussion. And there, they rebutted with like, Well, actually, I live by the Platinum rule. And everybody stopped. And I was like, okay, platinum, I'm down with that. I like expensive things. And what he shared was that the Platinum rule differs a bit from the golden rule, and that we were taught, at least in America, at a very early age that the golden rule is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Well, the Platinum rule takes it a step further hence Platinum being above Gold - love that, um, and in the, with the Platinum rule, the concept of ideology is to treat others the way they want to be treated. And so where Chris may be able to handle my shade throwing, that may not be for Frank. And so I need to be mindful of the fact that just because I am okay, with receiving the shade thrown my way, because Lord knows, I've had plenty of breezy days out here. Um, that doesn't mean that that's true for Frank and Jeff as well. And so I should be mindful of treating them with kindness, and with respect, but also inquire and genuinely seek to learn more about them as individuals so that I'm not making assumptions about what is right or feels right for them as individuals. And, you know, I think the Platinum rule has definitely allowed my career to flourish. Because the greatest lever that a D&I practitioner has access to or skill is influence. And in order to influence people, you have to be able to build thoughtful and genuine relationships. And I think the Platinum rule has given me that foundation to be able to build authentic relationships with people and thereby create the level of influence necessary to bring forth change.

Jeff Ma
Right. And I was raised on the golden rule, you know, easily and and I think, what struck me immediately about the difference, personally, when when you first brought it up, and I thought about it, was that the golden rule was something you could kind of say out loud and be like treat others the way you want to be treated, and it makes perfect sense. And I can just go out in the world and do that, like, because I can just go and be a person who treats everybody the way I'd want to be treated. And I'm like, that makes sense. And to me, the Platinum rule implies some work, you know, like the Platinum rule, you can't you can't do that without, you know, putting some work into it. And that's kind of what I wanted to start talking about here today. Frank, Chris, any thoughts right off the bat here on on this Platinum rule?

Frank Danna
I mean, for me, it's like, I think it sounds amazing. And similarly to how Jeff was thinking, like, everybody grew up on the golden rule. I don't know if there's another layer above Platinum as a diamond is it unobtainium. But either way, we don't have to talk about that. Jeff's, like, Don't bring any more into this Vibranium. Um, but my thought is, like, I'm immediately thinking about how much time and effort that type of thing could take, right? Because if you're talking about treat other people the way they want to be treated, that means, like, knowing how they think maybe knowing how they act and engage. And so my thought is, it feels a little overwhelming, and a little bit scary, because I'm looking at it going like, okay, does that mean that I have to, I have to make sure that I take like, how much time is that going to take for me to be able to to provide the level of care for someone else to know how they need to react and kind of be in that position? That's, that's the thing that immediately strikes me is the the the amount of effort that would go into it. And I think that's something that I want to talk about a little bit.

Kandace Cooks
Sure. Happy to unpack. Chris, did you have anything to add to that?

Chris Pitre
I think getting there would be first I think the next thing that I would want to jump into after we talk about the the work that's required is, what are the practical applications? And what does it look like? Like, you know, being in a real setting? What does the Platinum rule look like in in reality, right? Because I could imagine, no meeting is the same. all stakeholders are different and change out, right? So yeah, you can't just assume that, you know, you do it once and you're good to go. It's like you're constantly realigning recalibrating to everybody you're around. And, you know, I want to get there, but let's start with like, just the work required before you get into practicality.

Kandace Cooks
Sure. So, um, I guess I've just been doing this for quite some time, and don't even think about the work that goes into it anymore. Um, I have effectively decoupled from the golden rule. Um, so I will say that the first sort of thing to keep in mind that's foundational, and the work required around the Platinum rule is making well, ground zero, remove self from the equation, you must be self aware, and your conversation and the way you show up in any space and any interaction cannot be self centered unless you're negotiating pay. That's the only time you should be self centered, right, um, please get all of your coins. But if you are inside of any other interaction, please be aware of self and remove self from that interaction. And that is the easiest way to quickly access executing the Platinum rule. So by that, I mean, if I am, let's just say I even something as simple as like walk into a room. And there are a group of people who are about to engage in conversation or some interaction of some sort. And I'm cold. Instead of just saying, Oh, my God, I'm so cold. Right? Like, we typically do whenever the temperature is not to our liking. I could lead with Wow, is anyone cold in here, um, and I am addressing my concern, but I have put the focus away from me and on to the people who are in the room. And what they immediately receive is, Wow, she's really thoughtful. So immediately I've broken all barriers and all assumptions about who I am before because you know, my blackness shows up in the room before I do, and sometimes my femininity, but any assumptions or biases that may have lived in that moment before I opened my mouth. When I asked a question that was about them, there will be their state of comfort, immediately what people receive, or what they hear is not just is this temperature okay for me, but wow, she was thoughtful enough to ask, and she doesn't even know who I am, or she knows who I am, but thought enough of me to ensure I was comfortable. And so that is like one really, really, really simple example, doesn't matter where you are, if you're at work, if you're at the gym, if you're at church, like doesn't matter, that's something that you can do or leverage with anyone around you. But essentially making sure that when you engage in conversation, when you're talking to a client, you are actually servicing their need, and centering their need as the basis of your conversation versus leading with your thoughts, feelings and opinions, even if they're as simple as I'm cold, or I would like the temperature in this room adjusted.

Frank Danna
I wanted to follow on I want to ask how, what are some of the the questions that you can ask or have asked around learning how people want to be treated. So if we're talking about, we talked about shade earlier, like I just want to be in the room with y'all when you throw shade at each other, but I don't want to be the recipient of it. But in terms of in terms of building those types of relationships, where when I walk in the room, now I understand how Jeff wants to be treated, or how Kandace or Chris want to be treated? What are some of those questions that you can use? And then I'll Part B to that is, in a virtual environment just as well as a in person environment. Right. So how can we break down those barriers to make the Platinum rule more attainable? for people when they're trying to build those relationships? What are some of those, those questions that you've been able to ask others that gets to that quickly?

Kandace Cooks
Right, so one of the easiest ones that is everyone's favorite is their name, right? So when you ask someone, what their name is, and I'll use Chris, for example, His full name is Christopher. And so if he introduced himself as Christopher, then my response is like, Oh, cool. I have a relative by that name. Do you prefer to go by Chris? Or Christopher? Right. And that is, right away, how do you prefer to be addressed? Right, um, is clear. And so if he says, Chris, then I understand that he has, perhaps it's possible that he is, he's a bit more casual, um, and doesn't have to go through sort of the rigmarole of like full names, right. And so once he says, I prefer Chris, then that would indicate to me right away about like, okay, so he's comfortable enough to share his nickname or his preferred name. Um, he has shared some level of vulnerability with me. And so I can therefore dig a bit deeper. But the only way for you to access vulnerability is to be vulnerable first. So in that conversation, when you ask for a name, say, Hi, my name is Kandace. My friends and family call me Kandy. What's your name? Right. And what I have done was unveiled my truth right, before even extracting any information from Chris. And so it it seems very, very, very complex, you know, as an ideology. But in practice, it becomes really simple. Because the, the full intention is to shift the focus away from you and onto the other person. Yeah.

Chris Pitre
And I think this sounds like great when everybody's neutral, or, you know, warm and welcoming in in a great, like a safer space. But I'm curious to know, what the Platinum rule looks like, when perhaps there's more conflict, or it's maybe a little bit more hostile, or you have warring factions, so to speak, which happens in corporate America quite often.

Kandace Cooks
Yes it does.

Chris Pitre
And so how does that how does that rule look when sides are a little bit more tense?

Kandace Cooks
Yeah. So the Platinum rule in in conflicts or in tension looks a lot like seeking understanding, right? identifying the root cause of the sort of opposing view, right? And so it's like, Hey, you know, I what I hear from you is x, and how can you clarify or build to add a little more color to you know, why you believe or feel this way, right? What information do you have that I may not be aware of? Because I want to make sure that I'm processing everything as you share it, and essentially pulling them in, you're reeling them in, you're making it about them. What's what, you know, like, what is your belief in this moment? What sort? What is your source of truth? How did you come to this conclusion, like, seeking understanding will always ease conflict, because it allows you to then seek the commonalities or potential solutions based on what they're saying they need, they believe they hear they love they want, right. And so with that, you can sort of move forward. Otherwise, if you just stay locked into what I believe what I want, what I need, um, the conflicts will, like forever live. And it only takes one party to seek understanding from the other party. For for the tension to ease.

Chris Pitre
Got it.

Jeff Ma
So, Kandace, I'm, I'm curious as to, you know, you mentioned that this was something that really helped propel your career. Can you can you elaborate a little bit more of, of where this kind of played or stories of how it showed up? And how it, you know, you do a lot of great work in, you know, diversity, equity inclusion, and I'd love the kind of story of how that all tied together.

Kandace Cooks
Yeah, so, um, one of the, I think pivotal moments where leveraging the Platinum rule occurred when I was, oh, I was just a few months into my new role in Silicon Valley, for a fortune 500 tech firm, and the CEO and co-founder was leading an all-hands and was sharing, an all-hands is a company-wide meeting for those who who don't adopt that, or use that language. But he was leading a company-wide meeting. And he shared some things that I and quite a few others didn't agree with. And so in order to get him to hear the concerns of sort of like the employees at large, I reached out, and I set up time, but of course, I did that responsibly. But I set up time, and what I did was spent time getting to know more about him. And because he was a fortune 500 executive, like sitting there and essentially scoping him out, shadowing him or interviewing him, because we lived in different cities was going to be really hard. So what I did was, I started asking questions about him, with the people who work closest to him. And with him. Like his his assistant, and his the, I would say his his his opposition on the leadership team, like the person who, who always said no, when other people said yes. And someone who had a lengthy history professionally with him. And those three people became my source of truth and understanding sort of like, what made him tick and understanding how he prefers to be treated. And once I was able to understand that, and yes, people, what I am saying is, this all took time, and it was so worth it. Because when we actually had our meeting, I was able to communicate to him in a language that he both appreciated, and understood. And it made my role of influencing him. Like a piece of cake, it was so simple. Once, once I shared what the ask was, he was already connected to me in a way of respect, and humility, and vulnerability, because that is the way in which I approached him and I did it in a language. And in a way that was what he was familiar with. Right. And so because I took the time to do that, and by the way, we're talking like, maybe like an hour and a half of 30 minute meetings with three different people like this is not like, but the stakes were high. So those 90 minutes were like well worth it. It's not every day you're talking to the CEO of a tech giant, right. And so I felt investing 90 minutes was going to have a wild return. And so, and it did it, that single conversation was a catalyst for that global entity to do all to begin all of the cultural change work that has now reshaped both their their market position from a brand standpoint and reputation standpoint, but also their profitability, employee satisfaction and the whole nine. So I knew that all of those things were possible, if I was able to have a conversation with him, and be effective in both understanding his point of view, and sharing my point of view, and have that steeped in the Platinum rule.

Frank Danna
It's interesting to me, it sounds like the golden rule is, in my opinion, like listening to this, just having a conversation about it, it feels a little flawed to me, because you're leading with a kind of it feels a little bit selfish, right? Like you're assuming that other people would like to be treated, how you are treated. Whereas the Platinum rule sounds like an anti-self approach, it's selflessness, it's being willing to put yourself aside to recognize the needs of others in anticipation of that, that connection with the other person, right?

Kandace Cooks
For sure.

Frank Danna
So, that's, that's how that's how it's making sense to me is that the golden rule is inherently a selfish rule.

Kandace Cooks
Yes it is.

Frank Danna
I've just upset a lot of people that grew up in America. But I'm just saying, if you think about the idea of like applying a growth mindset and moving forward, the next, the next step is caring about other people more deeply than you're caring about, or assuming that they're going to be cared for the way you want to be cared for. So

Kandace Cooks
Yeah, for sure.

Chris Pitre
And I've been trying to find the ways in which maybe the Platinum rule might have limits or where it could fall flat or be wrong. And I'm, I'm struggling coming up with something, but I don't know if you've ever seen sort of the Platinum rule be misused or be ineffective in reaching or improving the environment in which you enter or operate within?

Kandace Cooks
Yeah, I think, quite honestly, um, someone will always you know, there are hackers in all areas of life, find the the flaws in the or the weaknesses in the Platinum rule. But one that comes to mind is manipulation. And you want to be careful that where the Platinum rule in the way you distinguish, like, when am I exercising the Platinum rule? And when am I being manipulative? Um, manipulation means that one person wins. With the Platinum rule, all parties win. If there are 20 people involved, everybody gets something. If there are two people involved, everybody gets something. But with a platinum rule, it's a win win. With the with manipulation, it's a win lose.

Frank Danna
I wanted to ask you a question because I know you mentioned you know, being a D&I practitioner or D&I practitioner, I want to talk about or ask you about how the Platinum rule applies when it comes to allyship, inside and outside of the workplace, but I'm thinking I'm hearing you talk about the idea is of like meeting the needs of people where they are meeting, like understanding people better. And it sounds like a lot of that is connected to a D&I practitioner perspective, but also, you know, as a white person, looking at opportunities to build better allyship, and to be a better activist for change. How could I apply? like asking you how could I apply? You know, the Platinum rule to a position of an ally?

Kandace Cooks
Yeah, so that's a great question. I think there are a couple of ways to approach that, um, you know, in being an ally, I'm an ally to many communities. Um, and one of the things that I'm very cognizant of as an ally is to push past assumptions, push past those stereotypes, push past the things that you see in the media, right, and ask the questions anyway. Don't assume that just because I'm going to a Muslim's house that I have to take off my shoes at the door, ask, ask, would you prefer that I take my shoes off before entering your home? Right. And it may be true for 99% of Muslims, right? But there may be that one person where it's like, girl, you're doing too much come inside, right and so so you want to ask those questions because there are people that may be part of various groups or communities, but may not always hold or practice every belief that is attached to or assigned to that community or that group. And so asking questions is the best way, regardless of what you've seen time and time again, whether that's something you've consumed via the media or lived experience, asking the question and not assuming that one Muslim is the same as the next or one black girl is the same as the next like, you cannot touch my hair, thank you for asking, right? Like it, like getting crystal clear about that is one of those things that is very individualized. And if you're working with a group of people, and acting as an ally to a specific group, address the group, right, and so and collectively, they will share and it won't be overwhelming, they'll share like, Hey, this is our philosophy, or this is how we navigate when we're inside of this group, etc, etc. And so it's quite simple. So that's one way, you know, asking, asking clarifying questions, and pushing past like the assumptions or the stereotypes that you've ingested over time. And then another way to to leverage the Platinum rule as an ally, is to ensure that when you are tasked with speaking on behalf of another group, do everything in your power to not be the speaker. Have someone a member of that group speak on behalf of themselves, right? Remember, the Platinum rule is about removing self. Why do I need to hear from Frank what Vietnamese people like just because he has, he's an ally to the Vietnamese community. And like, if you're an ally to the Vietnamese community, bring the Vietnamese people you have relationships with so I can hear from the horse's mouth, right. Um, oftentimes, we like to hold other people's stories hostage, so that we look like the hero, the real hero understands that their responsibility is to take a backseat, and to push for the people who can advocate for themselves. People, oftentimes in marginalized communities are seen as needing to be saved. And the reality is no marginalized person wants to be saved, marginalized people want access and opportunity. And so we can discard this need to protect or take on this savior complex, where we feel the need to almost act like helicopter allies. We need to break down and destroy those beliefs and behaviors. Because they actually do more harm than good.

Jeff Ma
For the record, yes, take off your shoes when you enter any house, please. For sure, that's just disgusting. Anyway, at all times, just regarding

Kandace Cooks
rubbing all of the grime from outside in your carpet. So

Jeff Ma
You are not welcome over. When you ask me at the door, I'll say yes.

Chris Pitre
But I feel like if you were to be in the Platinum rule, you will let your guests know before they come to wear nice socks or have socks ready for them in case they have somebody you know, so people may be in laundry days and don't have access to you know, the most appealing socks and so to be inclusive of them..

Kandace Cooks
Some people may have foot odor.

Jeff Ma
So, so if we're joking, but it brings up a kind of a point of like, it kind of like you need the Platinum rule to even get more of the Platinum rule

Kandace Cooks
Platinum love begets more Platinum love right? Like it just abounds, right? All those things that continues because what essentially you're activating with the Platinum rule is vulnerability and authenticity. And once you activate that, like the minute I share Oh girl I'm having a bad hair day. This is tough. Like it invites a Frank, Jeff, Chris to all say yeah, I had a terrible hair day last week or you know what? I spent like an hour longer than I should have on my hair today. You know, it invites people into your into the experience because They feel like they can relate, they now feel connected to, they now feel like they can trust you with more than just whatever the agenda items are. Right? And so you, you want to walk into or hope that you can walk into whether that is virtually or physically any interaction, enter into any interaction, hoping or aiming to learn more about the people involved than just the items on the agenda. Can you do that succinctly and within the timeframe you have? Absolutely. And it could start with one simple question or would using an icebreaker. Like one of the great ones that I'm that I'm stealing from Jonathan Sprinkles, America's connection coach, he likes to ask people virtually Tell me what's outside of your window. And boy, you would be amazed at the things that people share, and how that just cracks open, like the chatter. And everyone becomes very participatory in the conversation, regardless of how, you know, stringent the agenda is and so it's it's one of those things you liven up and open up people in a way that allows them to even be more productive inside of the conversation itself, even if it is solely focused on business.

Chris Pitre
Yeah. And I think as you've been talking, I've been going back and I remember the first time I sort of went International, and I had to go to an international client meeting. I was super nervous. And in my head about like, Okay, I'm an American. And this is like a meeting in London. And I was trying to figure I was like, I don't know how to behave around people that are British, I don't know, if they like do the same thing that Americans do. I don't, I don't know anything. And so I remember just like opening up like, so I'll be honest, I have no idea if I am offending anybody, just by, you know, asking certain questions. And, and they started laughing, right. So it opened the eyes and open, you know, everybody to, you know, contribute. But you start to realize that once you share those types of moments, humans are humans, regardless of where they grew up, right? Like, everyone has nerves. Everyone is also familiar with the fact that they don't always know the best sort of rule in the moment or the best etiquette at the moment, especially when there's international audiences. So having this in mind, you can honestly enter any room, regardless of how much you know, and sort of feel at home or, or make everyone feel like they belong in that room, even though nobody knows anyone or knows the background of anyone, or understands sort of the histories of every person or group in that room.

Kandace Cooks
Absolutely.

Frank Danna
That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I was gonna say sounds like humor is also could be a big part of that like bringing in levity bringing in something that allows people to laugh that breaks down those walls and silos. introducing something funny being as, like, honest as possible about how you don't know etiquette, right? And just allowing people to engage it sounds it sounds like that. That could also be something that people could start with, right?

Kandace Cooks
Yeah. Yeah, humor, humor goes a long way. Just make sure you're using appropriate humor, I'm crossing those boundaries can get you in trouble, but humor is what will crack the code right away.

Jeff Ma
So I want to bring this conversation kind of where I always try to bring the conversation and that's back to love, and business. And we've, we've kind of touched on those a little bit here and there. But, Kandace, I was wondering if you could kind of tie it together for me when it comes to the Platinum rule. What do we what's kind of the takeaway here of how that really draws a direct line through love into business?

Kandace Cooks
Yeah, so yeah. When leveraging the Platinum rule, um, I'm actually putting people in people and profits first, right? And the way I do that is remove self. That's step one, step two is be vulnerable first. Um, so step three is read the room do a temperature check. Um, find out what's happening with the with those around you. And I would say that the the last step in sort of leveraging the Platinum rule is to assume positive intent. Right? If I am operating from a place where I'm assuming that the person next to me wasn't intentional about offending me or saying something that may have come across a bit curt. Um, if I'm assuming positive intent, then I'm assuming maybe there's something behind that that I'm not aware of. So that may prompt me to ask clarifying questions, or maybe converse with that person a little more, lean into the conversation with them a little more. So I think in doing those things, what you do is bring out the best in people, you essentially, incite productivity. And people feel like they belong. And they also feel like they can contribute. And ultimately, that impacts your bottom line, because you have people working together as a team who feel both productive, and that their contributions have value. And whenever anyone feels valued, your dollars, your coins are going to stack up very quickly. And so I I, in leveraging the Platinum rule, love and business are definitely, um, they're definitely woven into that ideology, it would be almost impossible to separate the two they're inner woven, the more you leverage the Platinum rule, the happier the people and the higher the profits.

Jeff Ma
Yeah. You know, I think earlier you said platinum love begets platinum, remember the word right? But like, but like, that's, that's really compelling to me. Because if you follow the show, you know, one of things we preach over and over again, is the culture of love, right? The culture of how people are behaving and treating each other within the organization that's, that's, that permeates through, you know, hierarchical lines and political, you know, drama. And what I, what I hear from the Platinum rule is that it has this opportunity of like, almost, you know, through mitosis, or whatever it is, like spreading from person to person, like, like, yeah, platinum rule could be a key to unlocking kind of shared empathy, and growing this culture, from person to person person, which, I mean, we've we've talked at length of the business implications and benefits of having that type of culture, and it seems like the Platinum rule is a good place to start.

Frank Danna
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I was gonna say, Who doesn't want to feel a sense of belonging? Like, honestly, who wants to come to work and not feel like they belong? and not feel like they're valued?

Kandace Cooks
I don't. Child, I won't stay long, I promise you.

Frank Danna
Exactly. So I'm like this, it feels like it feels like the the Platinum rule. it unlocks, like you said, that sense of belonging, which leads to higher morale better, better performing teams, people that are more engaged, more willing, that ownership, right. And so I mean, it makes perfect sense.

Jeff Ma
Yeah. Like, we had a saying that we really loved the we culture versus the me culture. And the very first rule that kind of you that you mentioned, Kandace was to remove self. So literally, if people are practicing removing themselves, we're naturally building a we culture because everyone's only looking out for those around them. Yeah, not not themselves. I love that.

Kandace Cooks
Yeah. Oh, it's a me culture. When you're talking about your money. Remember that?

Frank Danna
Understood.

Jeff Ma
I guess, finally.

Kandace Cooks
But just before we move away from that, I will caveat the sort of putting self first when negotiating pay, salary contracts. It's important to note that the only way to effectively get your money is to actually leverage the Platinum rule. So the most effective way Yeah, this is an insider tip. The most effective way to getting the pay that you deserve is actually to learn what the business needs and tie your achievements to what they need. And couch, your monetary ask, and your ability to solve or address the needs that they have. And what you're doing is saying, look, I hear you, I see you, I believe in the direction you want to go, and I am the person who will help you get there and I'm also worth every penny I'm asking for because I have taken the time to learn what you need.

Frank Danna
I'm taking notes. I'm gonna keep them right here for review. If you're watching screenshot it.

Chris Pitre
Somebody drop Mohammad in and let's drop Mohammad in this conversation.

Frank Danna
Talking about you, Mohammad.

Jeff Ma
So I guess to close this out, Kandace, speaking out to the audience like, What? What should they go? Like? What's the first step? Like, they've never heard of the Platinum rule, we talked at length about, you kind of laid out the steps. But what can they what can they go and practically, look at first, or what can they go and just address?

Kandace Cooks
Honey, yourself. Look in the mirror, be self aware, um, know what triggers you. Like, if you're annoyed at people who breathe loud. Be aware of that, because you may walk into a room or be on a zoom, where people are breathing loud, right? And it sounds silly, but there are people out there who have been annoyed at my breathing. And so like, I want to make sure that like, if you know that, that's a trigger for you. Be aware of it. So that when it happens, instead of reacting in a negative way, you can react, leveraging the Platinum rule, and engage that person, lean into them, ask them a little more. By the way, if they're talking, they're not breathing. So that helps. I'm just putting that out there. But being aware, being self aware, will actually put you in a position to be ahead or proactive around negative responses or negative behavior. So self awareness is key. So self awareness would be step one, step two, remove self from the equation. Step three, be vulnerable first. Step four, read the room, do a temperature check, pay attention to what's happening around you. Are people frowning, smiling? Are their eyebrows frowed and intense looking foreheads? Like, pay attention to that because that non-verbal communication will tell you a lot of what you need to know, even if you don't have the time to address every individual. And that's also something you can see as long as people have their cameras on on virtual meetings. And if someone has their camera off in a virtual setting, check in with them from time to time. Hey, you know, Frank, I know your cameras off, please continue managing whatever you're doing, would love to hear your voice. Right. And in pulling people in. And I let Frank know that I'm not bothered. And just that simple statement. I recognize your cameras off. I'm not calling you out, nor am I bothered by it. I just want to hear your voice. I need you here with me. Right. And so you're inviting people into the conversation. That was the Platinum rule in like five seconds. Right. And so it's it's one of those things that I would say it will, is it's kind of foolproof. And then the last I would say is the last step is assume positive intent. If Frank doesn't want to talk to you, if he has nothing to say, after you invite him to the conversation, cool. Frank may be dealing with a screaming two year old. Let him live in that moment. Right. And so you continue pushing forward. Right. And I think if you can sort of leverage those five steps I just shared, um, you will be well on your way to becoming a platinum rule practitioner.

Jeff Ma
Oh. Certified.

Kandace Cooks
Yeah.

Chris Pitre
Yeah. I was gonna say what like about those steps is that you could be a leader to follow steps. Or you could be the younger brother teaching your older sister how to write.

Jeff Ma
I was waiting for it. Next time your cameras off on a meeting, which it often is I'm gonna be employing those tactics.

Chris Pitre
And I may or may not reply and you'll have some positive intent.

Frank Danna
Chris is leveraging the Platinum rule right now. Do we see how this is go? Like, I don't know.

Chris Pitre
It's a win-win.

Kandace Cooks
It may be varying into manipulation. But, you know.

Frank Danna
I feel like I'm winning though. So I don't know.

Kandace Cooks
Yeah. Okay. As long as y'all feel like y'all are winning. I hear a lot of Chris in those asks, but you know.

Jeff Ma
All right. Well, Kandace, I want to really, really appreciate you for joining us today. This is a really amazing conversation. I know you're very busy and taking the time to come chat with us today was really meaningful. And I think the listeners have really tangible things to take away from it as well. So thank you so much.

Kandace Cooks
You are quite welcome. And if you ever want me back to talk about how to leverage the Platinum rule or abandon it, I should say in a in a shade throwing conversation. I'm your girl.

Jeff Ma
Yeah, we'll schedule that episode, we'll probably just put you and Chris in a room we'll say it's recording but not actually record it and just let you guys just go at it, you know. I don't know if that's safe for the airwaves. But here at love as a business strategy, we are posting new episodes every Tuesday. And if there's a business topic that you guys out there would like us to cover, please let us know at Softway.com/LAABS. And if you'd like what you heard today, please do leave us a review, or subscribe to Apple and Spotify, it would mean a lot. And so with that, thank you everybody for this great conversation. And Chris, thank you for you know, I guess all the extras like shade that we got to experience due to this experience. So we'll see you guys. We'll see you guys next week. Bye bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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