It's Nice to Be Nice
By Bob Goldman

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Be honest now. What motivates you, your co-workers and the people who run your company?

If the answer is, "It's the money, stupid," then you are probably not wrong and definitely not alone. Most businesses leaders today are all about making as much as possible while giving everyone else as little as possible.

(Note: This is why so many U.S. businesses have moved their headquarters to tax-friendly countries. You may not know it, but the enormous enterprise that produces this column every week keeps its outsized revenues in a shoebox in the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. This is why we pay so little in U.S. taxes, and so little in salaries. We could find the shoebox, but we can't find the country.)

If you've ever wondered if there was a better way to motivate your company, I encourage you to wander and ponder the website of xocial.

According to the company's PR person, xocial is "an online community that connects people and organizations to causes they care about, then inspires them to take action."

Companies that adopt xocial have the ability "to not only gauge how nice they 'really' are, but also the opportunity to out-nice each other by competing in simple 'positive social change challenges.'"

In other words, the cut-throat competitive drive valued in your company can be shifted from a crass goal, being rich, to an uplifting cause, being nice.

To quantify the degree of niceness your company generates, xocial uses an XO Score.

"Your XO Score is a representation of your overall positive 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."

My soul has already filed for bankruptcy, but, for you, performing various acts of kindness could help in your race to the top, assuming your company is interested in helping people at the bottom.

And what, specifically, might you do, kindness-wise? Being darn nice themselves, xocial provides "15 best ways to practice competitive kindness."

For example, best way No. 1: "You find the best parking spot. Then, of your own free will, you give it to someone else."

Putting aside the epistemological argument over whether someone trying to live on a salary as measly as yours actually has free will, this particular act of kindness is definitively a stretch. After circling for an hour to find a parking space, most of us would rather floss our teeth with the fan belt than give up that space. Sorry to say, that's a -10 on your XO score.

You could put yourself in the positive column with No. 8: "Find the best bargain ever. Then give the money you saved to someone who really needs it."

This is definitely doable. As everyone knows, the two-for-one Jagermeister shots at the Kit Kat Klub's happy hour represent the best bargain this side of Filene's Basement. You could give the money you save to a needy charity, say AA, or you could give the free shot to the loser in the bar mirror. They're definitely a needy case. +13 on your XO score.

"Yes, you drive the nicest car," is kind practice No. 10. "And it's a hybrid."

This shouldn't be too difficult to pull off. A Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is a very nice car. It has a top speed of 254 miles an hour, and a base price of $2.7 million (radio extra). It's not quite a hybrid. In fact, its gas mileage is probably 25 gallons to a mile, but since you won't survive in such a car for more than a mile, I think we can agree you've helped the environment. +6 on your XO score.

Our final best idea is custom made for you. "You've got the best butt of all your friends. Why not invite them to come with you to the gym (and pay for their class?)"

I'm not sure how we can measure the quality of your butt, but in terms of quantity, you definitely have a Juggernaut in the history of buttdom.

Since you didn't need any gym classes to grow that posterior, there's no need to pay for classes. Your act of kindness could be that you use your butt to help people, like pressing shirts before a big meeting or, when summer heat is at its peak, providing shade for the entire team.

Making you a very nice person, with an extremely kindly butt.

+25 points on your XO score.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com