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Competitive Kindness? Absolutely.

Kindness and compassion, compassion and kindness. Yes, you can bring them to the workplace. And for those of you who like a good competition, check this out:

xocial (soh-shuhl) is giving cause-driven and otherwise kindness-oriented individuals and socially responsible businesses the ability to not only gauge how nice they are, but also the opportunity to participate in simple ‘positive social change challenges’  (even super simple ones like these ) against family, friends, teammates, colleagues, other companies/organizations/clubs and even perfect strangers) that actually calculate a person or company’s favorable social impact.  Finally a way to QUANTIFY nice-ness in order to spur more! Social responsibility has never been more fun and contagious.

 Gamifying Goodness: New ‘Social Impact Scoring System’ Spurs a Movement of Competitive      Kindness 

How nice are you? The xocial online community is calculating and curating “competitive kindness” to help mere mortals out-nice each other, and make the world a better place

Are you using your superpowers for good? One optimistic online community called xocial (pronounced soh-shuhl) is now giving cause-conscious and otherwise kindhearted individuals and companies the ability to do good, see good, feel good and measure good. Not only does xocial connect people, businesses and organizations to causes they care about and inspire them to take action amid friendly competition, the xocial platform also actually measures the impact of their efforts to make the world a better place. For this, participants continually build their XO score, representing their social impact. “Your XO score is a representation of your overall positive social impact,” says CEO Colin Duetta. “You build your score by completing challenges and engaging with others in the xocial community. It’s a credit score for your soul.

Duetta goes on to explain that the XO score methodology provides a benchmark that helps spur the spirit of competition—the favorable kind where everyone ultimately wins. The numerical measurements allow users to compete with each other to see who can do the most good. The XO score also puts the phenomenon of social media to more productive use. Instead of measuring popularity, xocial measures an individual’s or organization’s positive social impact. “We want technology to make people better parents, friends, coworkers, bosses and citizens, and also help enable businesses to promote the greater good,” says Duetta.

“We want the competitive kindness movement to inspire the next generation of social responsibility,” Duetta continued. “xocial’s goal is to channel the universal human drive to ‘compete’ into actions that benefit the causes an individual cares about.” He further explains that, while traditional philanthropy focuses on financial giving or attending singular or one-off events, the xocial platform engages both first-time and lifestyle do-gooders in supporting social causes regardless of their level of skill, special interest or financial donation.

The bottom line? xocial allows anyone to become a superhero (cape not required). Simple campaigns can be built online for free, and anyone can create one: moms, dads, grandparents, kids, companies, charities, schools, teachers, hospitals, offices and neighborhood groups — there are no limitations on who can organize a campaign or join one already underway.

Just search for a cause you care about, click to join and compete in challenges to earn points. It’s up to each campaign organizer whether they want to offer prizes or special recognition for top-scoring participants. But, when the competition is about compassion, all participants are winners, right?

Individuals can revel in the knowledge they are making a real difference; families can be brought closer together; teamwork can be improved; businesses can establish a new hub of corporate social responsibility and amplify existing efforts; employers can create a more positive workplace culture; charities can increase fundraising, create more buzz and attract, engage and retain the next generation of do-gooders; and teachers can instill real-world character-building lessons using technology to help others…not just for “selfies.” Thanks to xocial, good vs. good is a better equation that benefits us all.

Click here for 15 easy and wonderful

ways to practice competitive kindness

Encourage kindness in your teams. You can make your deadline and make a difference.



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The BEST Way to Deliver Bad News

Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.” Colin Powell

Delivering bad news does not have to be scary.

Delivering bad news does not have to be scary.

Unfortunately your best customer who is the sponsor for the project you manage just placed a freeze on all future project work. This is a big deal. One quarter of your organizations projected earning for the next six month is tied to those projects. You are upset and you know your management will be upset too. You also know that it is your responsibility to deliver the bad news.

This is not your favorite type of communication, but you have skills and you are going to handle it. The first thing that you do is take some time and process this information yourself. Then you schedule time with your manager for a discussion. This helps to ensure that you will be calm and your thoughts will be organized as you deliver the bad news.

This is an example of you preparing yourself emotionally.

 Before your appointed meeting time, you see your manager walking toward the cafeteria. You could tell her the bad news right now. But you know better, this is not the right time and place for the discussion. You simply advise her that you have set aside some time on her calendar for that afternoon.

This is an example of you paying attention to timing and setting.

As you prepare to deliver the bad news you decide to present three other very qualified customer leads who have the potential to bring in new business within the next few months. In this way you are not just dumping bad news on your manager, you are also bringing some potential solutions. Perhaps together you can go into problem-solving mode.

This is an example of you identifying solutions.

As you walk into her office, you search for something positive to say. You hate to just jump into the bad news (even though you have brought potential solutions). You do not butter her up to improve her mood by saying something like, “You can really tell that you have been working out.” You also do not go for a laugh by making jokes such as “Good news, we can cut back on overtime.” In this instance you realize it is not time for making up positive news.

This is an example of you appropriately deciding how to focus on the positive.

 In the past you would have been much more upset about this news. Right now, it is not as upsetting to you as you know that you will be leaving the organization very soon. Despite this, you are not insensitive to the feelings of others. As you discuss this challenge with your manager you do note that you understand just how upsetting this news is for her.

This is an example of you being genuine.

And if above approach looks a bit familiar, it is from our previous discussion on delivering bad news, where you took the short quiz on how to handle this exact situation:

What you just did was follow five recommended steps for delivering bad news:

Step 1 – Prepare yourself emotionally.

Step 2 – Identify solutions.

Step 3 – Pay Attention to Setting and Timing.

Step 4 – Be genuine.

Step 5 – Where appropriate, focus on the positive.

Way to go!

For additional help on how to deliver bad news (and earn a PDU), check out

‘How to Deliver Difficult News’ over on, there is an audio version: and a video version:

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Congratulations! You Have Bad News to Share.


“Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules” – Douglas Adams

It is going to happen. You will have to deliver bad news. Not all of your projects are going to run perfectly. When they don’t you want to do a good job delivering bad news. How you deliver the news can make all of the difference in the world in terms of what happens next, how you are perceived as a leader and the strength of your professional relationships.

Consider the following scenario and then take the short quiz on how you will react. You have just learned that a key customer is putting all future project work with your company on hold. This customer contributed 25% of your organizations earnings for the next six months. This news is very upsetting to you and it will be upsetting to your management as well.

1. What is the first thing you do:

A. Text your manager that you have bad news and that you need to talk ASAP.

B. Take the afternoon off and get a massage or meditate to calm yourself down.

C. Take some time to process this information yourself and then schedule time with your manager for a discussion.

D. Do nothing and wait for a few days, perhaps the customer will decide to continue with future purchases as planned.


2. As you prepare to deliver the news you decide to present three other very good ideas for projects with other customers, all of which have the potential to bring in new business within the next few months. This is an example of:

A. You overstepping your boundaries as you are not in charge of proposing project ideas.

B. You bringing solutions while communicating bad news.

C. You trying to deflect the bad news with other potentially good news.

D. You tying to protect your job and earn your next promotion.


3. Before you begin to discuss the bad news about the customer and the now on hold projects, you decide you want to say something positive so you say to your manager:

A. “You can really tell that you have been working out.”

B.“Good news, we can cut back on overtime.”

C. “Soon we will not have to deal with one of our most demanding customers.”

D. Nothing, you do not have an appropriate positive comment to make.


4. The truth is that although the news about the customer is upsetting, you are about to give notice, so you are not that concerned. Despite this you say to your manager

A. “I can see where this is very upsetting for you.”

B. “I don’t know about you, but this is devastating to me.”

C. “Maybe this is the wake up call we needed.”

D. “I will leave you alone to start coming up with solutions.”


5. You happen to see your manager walking to the cafeteria. You decide to:

A. Tell her the bad news as you walk with her to the cafeteria.

B. Advise her that you have scheduled some time with her that afternoon.

C. Approach her at the crowded sandwich station and tell her the news.

D. Follow her to her table in the cafeteria and tell her while she eats.

Looking forward to reading your thoughts. Be sure to read next week when we discuss the answers and take a closer look at how to present bad news at work. In the meantime if you would like to learn more and earn a PDU check out ‘How to Deliver Difficult News’ over on, there is an audio version: and a video version:




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Project Status: To Tell the Truth

Project status - tell the truth.

Project status – tell the truth.

“If you’re not gonna tell the truth, then why start talking?” – Gene Wilder

You are the project manager of Project Big. It is Friday afternoon. This is your project status:

Your team is behind schedule by two days.

Because the project is so critical and the deadline is the most important constraint, team members working on critical path activities have agreed to stay late tonight, and to work on BOTH Saturday and Sunday in order to get back on track.

Your sponsor just sent you a text asking for project status. Your sponsor does not know that the team is behind schedule by two days. She was out of the office for two weeks on an international vacation and is just returning. Everything was fine when she left. That will teach her to take a vacation!

You consider the following options:

1) Ignore her text until later in the weekend and then once you are back on track send her an update. Your thought process here is that in your corporate culture, a text is not considered to be a formal communication. In fact there have been times when you texted your sponsor and she did not reply for 24 hours. You feel justified in waiting. This will allow you to see how much is accomplished tonight and tomorrow. Your hope is that the team completes the planned amount of work and you can text her that all is going well.

2) Tell her the truth about the status and the plan – right now we are off by two days, we are working the weekend to get back on track. Of course this makes for a long text. If texting is her preference you find a way to be concise yet reassuring. Otherwise you call her or send her a brief email.

3) Tell her everything is fine because you feel confident that everything will be fine, why upset her? You are thinking that her text is just a check-in, to let you know that she has returned from her vacation and that she has not forgotten about the project. By the time she is really ready to pay attention, everything will be fine.

4) Reply that you will schedule some catch-up time with her for Monday. Then on Monday you can have a project overview and status with her and let her know what has been happening. At the point, the team may have completed the required work and is back on schedule, or they are not back on schedule. Of course you are secretly hoping they are back on schedule or at least much closer.

What do YOU think, one of the above, none of the above? What would YOU do?

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The Brick Wall of Bureaucracy

“Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.” – Laurence J Peter

There are plenty of good reasons to have established procedures. Don’t you want procedures to ensure safety and security? Don’t you want a paper trail when money is involved? Of course you expect project managers to follow a clearly defined methodology.

Do you ever suspect that some people use the rules as an excuse to avoid work? Of course they do!

“Sorry, we can’t do that, we do everything here by the book.”

But we have always done it this way.”

Those are both phrases that can make your blood run cold. Or at least give you a raging headache. Ouch, you just slammed into the brick wall of bureaucracy.

Brick wall of Bureaucracy

Some people use rules and procedures to shelter themselves from work. They truly do not care how much difficulty they send your way. They claim to be efficient (because they are following the pre-established rules), but they are not effective. And making you jump through hoops to follow obscure organizational guidelines is fun,  for them.

The truth is that these individuals really use bureaucracy to mask laziness, apathy and fear of change. How can you fight back?

Never attack the system and definitely do not put the person on the defensive. Research is your new best friend. Why? Because you are probably not going to be able to dismantle the process and you will not be granted permission to follow your own approach. Observe the behavior of the person so that you learn how they use the process as a roadblock. Learn the process. If it is documented carry it around with you. As soon as your favorite obstacle starts quoting the rules, sit with them and have them flip to the page and section they are referencing. You want to be able to use the process too, so that you are already prepared with the correct response. If they say, “Sorry but you have to submit that form in triplicate”; counter with “And here are my three copies, thank you for your assistance.”

If research is your new best friend, then documentation is definitely a member of your inner circle.

Why? Someone who uses bureaucracy to avoid effort may be inconsistent in their interpretation of the rules. So keep track of how you are asked to follow the process. Also make sure you follow the process in place for documentation. Often the first roadblock with any bureaucrat is the documentation itself.

“I would love to help you, but you just do not have the appropriate documentation.” Your response, “Oh yes, I do and here it is, thank you for your assistance.”

If you suspect that this person is playing it fast and loose with the rules, get help. Collaborate with peers and even senior associates. It doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion.

Never let them get you flustered. It just isn’t worth it. Relax and work within the system.






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