The Golden Rule is Bulls#!t

The Golden Rule is Bullsh#!t. In Blacboard Fridays Episode 53, Jacob talks about Leadership. Need this implemented into your business? Talk to the international business advisor who can do exactly that – Contact Jacob, Learn More, or Subscribe for Updates.

Your mum probably taught you this: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (If not, have a chat to my mum, she’s fabulous and you’ll learn heaps. But I digress…)

Now, this ‘Golden Rule’ is great when you’re an aggro four-year-old, or a six-year-old who thinks pulling hair is appropriate behaviour. By adulthood, you’re supposed to have grown out of that behaviour … and you need to grow out of the Golden Rule.

Because when it comes to dealing with other people – in business, and in life – the Golden Rule is Bulls#!t. Trying to live by it will cost you enormously.

Watch this week’s episode about the alternative: as with most of The businessDEPOT Way, it boils down to understanding Context.

Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?

“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.

Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.

At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.

You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritise first.

That’s me.

Learn more here. Or Let’s chat.


This week on Blackboard Fridays, we’re going simple because in simplicity, there is power. This is the simplest framework that I use for my business and my clients and therefore is the most powerful. It’s understanding the difference between the stuff, what we do, and our context, why we do what we do. It has such an immersive impact on change, on empathy, on understanding, on your relationships in business.

Let’s give some examples. If, like most business owners, you’ve got something going on in your business you don’t quite like (it’s not working), you’re probably going to jump in and try and change what gets done. You’re going to muddle through that, you’re going to struggle, your team are going to resist because they don’t understand why you’re making the change.

If you think back to all of the businessDEPOT way, every single one of those tools is designed to take a specific piece of stuff in your business and first of all take it up to context, understand why you’re making the current decisions. Maybe they served you in the past, maybe it wasn’t important in the past, maybe you didn’t know better. But if you can come up to the context, then you can change the context.

Changing the context is so much simpler than changing the stuff. When you’ve changed that, when you’ve communicated that to your team, then you can come back down into the stuff and have them on board with the changes.

Let me give you a specific example. A client of mine recently made the decision to change their reporting process. The big detailed reports that they give to all of their clients. Now, they could have gone into all of the different software choices that they were doing, some of the the different instructions and workflow processes for their staff; but instead, we simplified that entire conversation.

We started by saying, “Right, let’s not talk about what the current process is but let’s talk about why the current process is”, and the context was accuracy. They had made a decision 15 years ago in that business that they wanted their reports to be the most accurate approach to those reports in their industry. That served them well, but not anymore. Because as a result of that accuracy, they were taking a long time to produce. Clients were getting frustrated because clients didn’t really care whether it was 80%, 90% or 100% correct. They just wanted that report in a timely manner. So we needed to shift from accuracy to timeliness.

Once you make that decision, suddenly the team go , “Oh! Well there’s this step that takes me forever and doesn’t really add anything to the report.” Suddenly, the team are on board with the change and they’re now getting their reports done in half the time. Yhey’re saving hours a day and not by jumping into the stuff but by getting clear on why they used to do it and why they’re making the change.

How does this show up in conflict in business? Well, you’ll often have a situation where you get different individuals who are running different contexts. Let me give you a real example. I’ve got a client and their context is very much around servicing their clients. Now, they’ve got a business partner who runs a different context. He is much more of a family man. How does that show up in the stuff? Well, let’s say you’ve got a client who sent you an email at 2 minutes to 5:00 in the afternoon asking for something to be delivered to them at 9 a.m. the next morning.

If you have a context of servicing the client, you’re probably going to say back to midnight to do it. If you’ve got a context of family because the family is more important, you’re probably going to reply to that client to say, “That’s not a possible timeframe. I’ll get it to you tomorrow afternoon or the next day. I’m still going home and having dinner with my kids.”

There’s no right or wrong in the context and that’s where we can create frustration because if we don’t understand the context of those that we work with, we can only see the stuff that they’re doing and we assume that everybody is like us. You get this frustration amongst these two business partners where this guy can’t understand why this guy’s constantly going home on time, and this guy doesn’t understand why this guy is working back late and working the team to the bone.

We could have had a whole conversation, and in specific instance of that business, there was an issue with resourcing. They needed to hire more people. Well, at least this guy thought so. Because the clients weren’t getting the service that he expected, and they had a lot of arguments back and forth around hiring more people, until I came in and had this conversation with them instead.

My conversation was as simple as, “Hey. Your team are not getting home to see their family on time because they’re overworked. If you want your team to have a family context, you’re going to need to recruit more people.” A whole back-and-forth conversation disappeared immediately because by getting clear on the context, we made a decision in the staff they’ve got things a lot simpler.

Now, why is it that I say the golden rule is bullshit? You might remember the golden rule. It says ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s complete because that assumes that everybody has exactly the same context you do. If this client made a decision to do unto others based on his context, he wouldn’t be servicing those other people properly.

Instead, understand what the context is for other people. Do unto others the way they would like to be treated. If you just look at yourself, you’re only ever going to do to others what you would like and you’re not going to empathize and understand and you’re just going to drive them crazy, and they’re going to drive you crazy. Take the time to understand why you do what you do, why others do what they do, and to have conversations in the context, not in the content, simplify your life, and take that simple approach to creating powerful change easier conversations across your entire business.

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