Nonprofit Conference Keynote: Golden Rule Needs Update

    Marsha Davis

    wipfliPromoHuman resources and leadership expert Marsha Davis has some questions about one of the most fundamental and universally accepted philosophical tenets in history.

    We all know The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    “But they may not want that,” Davis said. “They may not want what you would want.”

    That’s why Davis preaches what she calls The Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as THEY would have you do unto THEM.”

    Davis, the director of training and programs at The Davis Group, delivered the keynote address at the 17th Annual Wipfli National Training Conference, where more than one thousand nonprofit leaders from 43 states, four territories and the District of Columbia are gathered to learn best practices to serve their communities better.

    “What we do is relationship-based problem solving,” Davis said of the work The Davis Group does from its home base in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. “That’s something a marketing person came up with and it sounded good, but what it really means is we help people get along.

    She says that work must be done face to face.

    “You can’t do that with a CD,” she said.

    She also said that people who work together have to understand each other’s culture better — and that doesn’t only mean their race or ethnicity.

    “Culture is very broad. Right now the conversation is about race. But it’s much bigger, much broader than that,” she said. Age, beliefs, gender, gender identity, linguistic background and family structure are all cultural intersections that inform who we are as people, and what makes each individual different from others.

    And in today’s workplace, more than ever before, those differences can be recognized and celebrated, rather than smoothed over and ignored.

    Even though culture has to do with more than country of origin, Davis used the example of recent immigrants to the United States to illustrate this point.

    “Unlike previous centuries, (new immigrants) are not interested in the melting pot,” she said “They want to keep their own culture, their own religion and make America a part of that. We have to do some work on that so we can accept people where they are. If you do that, they’ll accept you where you are as well.”

    Davis kicked off the conference of nonprofit leaders who will learn, over the next three days, everything from financial compliance to health care human resource management, all with an eye toward running their organizations more effectively and ultimately improving the lives of the people in their communities.

    The conference is organized by the nonprofit and government practice of Wipfli CPA and Consultants, an international firm based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.