Category Archives: Legal Careers

7 Reasons Too Much Coffee Is Killing Your Career

Coffee

By: Jayson Demers

It seems like most people in the professional world have grown to not only love coffee, but depend on it. After all, caffeine’s effects on our focus and alertness have made us seemingly more productive. After a cup of coffee you feel bright, energized and motivated, so it’s got to be great for your career, right?

The truth is more blurry. While there are many benefits of moderate coffee intake, excessive coffee consumption could actually be harming your career. Here’s how:

1. Coffee can make you skip breakfast.

This isn’t true for everybody, but you definitely know who you are. You wake up late, scramble to get ready for work and say to yourself, “I don’t have time for breakfast. I’ll just grab a coffee on the go.”

Coffee is great for waking us up and giving us energy to start the day, but that energy is an illusion — without the high-quality calories needed to fuel your body and mind, you only think you’re more energetic. The truth is, skipping a nutritive breakfast can lower your focus even with caffeine in your system, and decrease your productivity as well.

2. It makes you OK with sleep deprivation.

How many times have you stayed up late to finish a project, not fearing the effects of sleep deprivation because you can wake yourself up with a cup of coffee in the morning? If you’re a working professional and a coffee drinker, chances are it’s happened more than once.

Knowing that coffee can help us feel more alert and focused in the short term makes us more comfortable with depriving ourselves of sleep for short-term gains. However, sleep deprivation can wreak total havoc on your career, causing you to lose focus, lose productivity and even develop long-term physical and mental health complications.

3. It fuels insomnia.

The cycle gets even worse when you consider the fact that drinking lots of caffeine throughout the day can actually encourage the onset of insomnia. Drinking too much caffeine or too close to bed time can make your body stay up far longer than under ordinary circumstances, even if you’re trying to get to sleep. This makes you extra tired the next day, which forces you to drink more coffee, fueling the cycle further. Pretty soon, you’ll be so sleep deprived that not even caffeine can snap you out of it, and your career will take a massive hit.

4. It’s taking all your money.

It’s true that money isn’t everything, but money is a big part of why we go to work in first place. If you end up blowing most of your salary on unnecessary, temporary items, it could defeat the primary function of your job and make you work longer for the same amount of money.

According to data from 2014, more than a third of all Americans drink gourmet coffee on a daily basis, with younger people willing to pay more than $3 for a good cup of coffee. Take $3, assuming seven or more cups of coffee a week, and that’s over a thousand dollars a year that you could be saving – at the very least.

5. It’s raising your blood pressure.

Caffeine naturally raises your blood pressure, which isn’t so bad in small doses. But in combination with a stressful lifestyle (like you’d find in a demanding job), that blood pressure can skyrocket, putting you at risk for a number of other health complications. The higher blood pressure and shallow breathing caused by excessive caffeine intake can even limit the amount of oxygen that flows to your brain, making it harder for you to complete even basic tasks and interfere with your responsibilities.

6. It makes you slack off.

The stimulant effects of coffee make it seem like it would help you work harder. However, a recent study seems to imply that excessive caffeine intake can actually make you slack off. In a comparative study involving rats, lazy rats showed no difference in productivity after a high intake of caffeine, but other, naturally hardworking rats actually performed worse after consuming caffeine.

If you’re a hard worker, consuming high amounts of caffeine could be making you perform less or perform worse, even if you don’t consciously realize it.

7. You’re building a tolerance.

Caffeine is a stimulant, and like with any stimulant, its effects can be addictive. Over time, as you drink more and more coffee on a regular basis, your body will become used to the effects of caffeine and build up a tolerance to them. That means you’ll need to consume even more caffeine to get the same effects, compounding all the other harmful effects.

What’s worse is that if you let your coffee addiction grow, ceasing your intake will result in difficult and painful withdrawal. If you don’t keep your habit in check, the end result is drinking six cups of coffee a day or trying to work through your withdrawal – and neither are good for your career.

If you keep your caffeine intake under control, you don’t have to worry about coffee ruining your career. A cup of coffee on most mornings can actually be good for you, but when you let your habit become an addiction, it can devastate your productivity, your motivation, and even your physical health. Moderation is the key.

Read More: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243794

Law firms clash over laptops taken by departing lawyers

computer_hacker
A battle over laptops taken by lawyers to a new law firm failed to reach a settlement during a three-hour session before a magistrate judge.
The suit by Pennsylvania insurance boutique Nelson Brown Hamilton & Krekstein initially sought the return of laptops taken by 14 departing lawyers to Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) reports. The suit seeks damages under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
After the suit was filed last May, Lewis Brisbois returned the laptops, but erased and preserved the information they held, the story says. Now both law firms have hired computer experts to determine what information was on the devices.
The departing lawyers had represented hacked companies, and Nelson Brown says sensitive information such as Social Security numbers may have been saved on the laptops. The firm also says the devices may have contained confidential client lists and legal strategies.
Lewis Brisbois contends the lawyers needed to use the laptops to complete client matters after Nelson Brown fired the chair of its data privacy practice.
Jana Lubert, general counsel at Lewis Brisbois, told the National Law Journal that the laptops weren’t stolen. “It is important to note that at no time before or after the lawyers left Nelson Levine, which occurred over a year ago, was the data itself ever viewed by anyone who was not privileged and authorized to see it,” Lubert said.
The suit isn’t the only legal dispute spurred by the lawyers’ leap to Lewis Brisbois. Seven of the 14 departing lawyers have filed a suit, claiming Nelson Brown never paid them promised bonuses.
Nelson Brown also sued another group of departing lawyers over contingency fees, but the suit was dismissed, according to the story. Nelson Brown “had a tough year,” shrinking from 75 to 25 lawyers, the story says.

7 Tips To Better Employee Retention

By: Steve Olenski

No matter the size or stage your business is currently at, having employees leave is just bad for business. As the Wall Street Journal notes, a high employee turnover rate can cost “twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.” Not only are there financial repercussions, a high turnover rate can also lower the knowledge base in your company and decrease performance and morale.

If you want to avoid this negativity, it’s best to retain your best employees. And, you can do that by following these seven tips.

Right Candidate

1. Hire Selectively

Before you can begin to retain employees, you have to make sure that you have the right employees to begin with.

The Wall Street Journal suggests you “Interview and vet candidates carefully, not just to ensure they have the right skills but also that they fit well with the company culture, managers, and co-workers.”

You can also use tools like hiQ to gather data on prospective employees. This data can be used to predict which job seekers would fit best within your company. As an added bonus, hiQ also uses internal data from companies to helps retain employees.

2. Offer a Competitive Benefits Package Salary

If you want to keep top-notch talent, then you’re going to have to pay them well. Entrepreneur notes that salaries are based on the following:

  • Employee skill and experience
  • Supply and demand
  • Geographical location
  • Worker seniority

However, a high salary isn’t always the deciding factor when employees to seek employment elsewhere.

Many times they are looking for competitive benefits. As the Wall Street Journal points out, make sure you provide, “health insurance, life insurance, and a retirement-savings plan is essential in retaining employees.” Also offer additional perks such as flextime and the option of telecommuting that fit the needs of your employees.

work environment

3. Provide a Comfortable Work Environment and Culture

Have you ever walked into a room and felt either unsafe or uncomfortable? Image doing that every workday for eight or more hours a day.

Employees want to feel safe and comfortable at work. That’s why it’s important that your office is properly ventilated, well-lit, and at a comfortable temperature. Lois Goodell, principal and the director of interior design at CBT Architects, adds on Inc.com that “Designing a comfortable office environment is about more than aesthetics; careful attention to design can give a boost to employee happiness.”

You also need to have a culture that matches your industry, engages your employees, and motivates them. John Tabis, founder and CEO of The Bouqs Company, states in Fast Company that you accomplish this by making the culture personal and authentic. You then need to find a way to communicate your vision and always remember to put people first.

4. Offer Training

Entrepreneur recommends that “you should offer skills enhancement to all your workers.” Why? “New technology, new selling techniques, changes in employment laws, and the huge impact of the internet are all compelling reasons to keep permanent employees in the loop.”

Here are some ways to keep your employees trained:

  • Computerized training
  • DVDs, audiotapes, books, articles and pamphlets
  • Mentoring programs
  • Outside seminars and classes

Stay Interview5. Listen to Them

You can learn a lot when listening to employees. Maybe it’s a great new business plan that can be implemented, which makes them feel like they’re a part of the entire business process. Perhaps you heard they have a sick family member, so you want to send them a card or flowers or simply wish them condolences. You can always spare a few minutes to find out what’s going on with your employees in both their professional and personal lives.

Bonus tip: Conduct “stay” interviews so you can find out exactly why employees have remained with the company and what it would take for them to leave.

6. Quarterly Reviews

Quarterly reviews, or evaluations, are a major assist. These one-on-one meetings allow you to set goals and define how you want these goals to be achieved. However, this discussion should also include asking them what they need to accomplish these goals. Remember, this is should be a conversation and not a lecture.

7. Recognize Their Accomplishments

Finally, and perhaps most important, you have to recognize the accomplishments of employees. This could be a simple thank you or handwritten well-done note. If you want to raise the stakes, you could thank them by introducing them to new clients, sponsoring them at an industry event/conference, stock options, or awarding a prize.

However you decide to reward your employees, praising employees for completing performance goals is one of the most effective ways to make them feel appropriate, which will make them want to stay with you for the long haul.

Beyond Biglaw: The Dean’s 4-Step Formula For Dealing With Mistakes

By: Gaston Kroub

Show me a lawyer who has not made a mistake in their career, and I will show you a lawyer who has never practiced a single day. Mistakes happen. Lawyers are human, and no matter how well-trained, or how high their billing rate, there will be times when someone screws up. Most of the time, those screwups turn out to be harmless. Other times, they land the unfortunate maker of the mistake in these pages, as an unwilling “news item” of interest.

MistakeAs with many other things related to law practice, younger lawyers are often not taught how to deal with the inevitable mistake when one happens. As a result, easily correctable situations are often made worse, with the “cover-up worse than the crime” an often-seen consequence. In fact, other than being told not to make mistakes, younger lawyers, whether at Biglaw or smaller firms, often receive no training at all with respect to this issue. Making things worse is the tendency of firms to turn partners into demigods, who must have never made a mistake on the way to their current position. And no firm would ever admit that one of its current partners is capable of error. While definitely not true, this aspect of firm “culture” often serves to inculcate in younger lawyers an irrational fear that if they make a single mistake — disaster. Bye-bye to their jobs, at least.

This is a silly state of affairs. And when younger lawyers think that the more senior lawyers they work for are infallible, they are much less likely to come forward to ask for help correcting a mistake. No one wants to be embarrassed and admit they created a problem. But when mistakes are not addressed quickly — ideally with the input of more experienced lawyers who are better positioned to understand the ramifications of both the mistake and the corrective measures necessary — they have a way of festering, making it worse for everyone.

making mistakes

The solution is a simple one: educate younger lawyers, and “remind” more senior ones, about what to do when a mistake happens, as part of trying to minimize the cultural barriers found in law firms that hamper having mistakes addressed quickly and with the input of everyone on the legal team. To start, we can learn from one of the great basketball coaches of all time, the recently deceased Dean Smith — who, despite coaching some of the best players of all-time, definitely saw his share of mistakes perpetrated by his team on the court.

We can use one of the boneheaded mistakes I made as a relatively senior associate as our example.

Continue reading

6 Personality Traits That Can Make You a More Trusted Entrepreneur

As entrepreneurs, one of our greatest assets is our ability to be trusted.

No one does business with an untrustworthy person. Without trust, you can’t broker deals, close deals, sell stuff, or come out on top. Trust is the one thing you can’t live without.

Trust is hard to gain, though. Many people, especially successful businesspeople are inherently distrustful of others. This is one of the reasons why they’re successful. They have learned not to blindly trust people. By taking this approach toward most people, they have been able to protect themselves from stupid business deals and dangerous partnerships.

If you are an entrepreneur or business person involved in making and closing deals, one of the best things you can do is to build trust. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Authenticity — truly being trustworthy.

You can’t fake trust. You are either trustworthy or not. People who are emotionally intelligent and perceptive will be able to tell.

Being authentically trustworthy requires that you be honest in all your dealings — big and small. You must ensure that every area of your life has trustworthiness. That means keeping promises, maintaining relationships, following through on commitments, keeping your word, doing your taxes and following the little laws.

We all make genuine mistakes. You can’t be perfect. But trust isn’t about perfection, nor is it about some legalistic adherence to an arbitrary standard. It’s an approach to life that is characterized by the pursuit of trustworthiness.

Trust Falls

2. Confidence — insisting on your own way.

Ironic as it seems, someone who is trustworthy is someone who insists on his or her own way.

Why is this true? In any relationship, people will trust someone who knows what they are doing. If you behave in such a way that you know what you’re doing, it inspires trust in others.

Obviously, you don’t want to be rude about this. There’s a way to insist on your own way that doesn’t run roughshod over others. Be gentle but firm about the way that you know to be the best, and people will trust you.

3. Humility — asking for feedback.

Another way to create trust in others is to ask for their input.

When someone voices his or her viewpoint on an issue, the person is creating buy-in. The individual feels as if he or she is having a part in the project, thus voluntarily becoming invested in it. As long as someone feels like he or she is a valued part of the project, the person will trust your leadership of that project.

In order for this approach to be successful, you have to really listen and respond. People can tell if you’re merely getting token acceptance, and whether they are being valued and appreciated.

4. Calmness — refusing to panic in stressful situations

As long as you have a sense of calm resoluteness, people will trust you.

Stressful situations are some of the greatest opportunities to create trustworthiness. While everyone else is running around in a panic, you remain confident and unflustered. People gravitate to that kind of approach. They trust you.

Stressful times are going to happen, both in life and business. The calmer you are, the more you will be able to inspire the trust of those around you.

corporate-meditation

5. Experience — trying and failing

You gain trustworthiness by experience. In order to get experience, you have to make bold moves. Yes, you might fail; but even in failure, you earn trust.

Many successful entrepreneurs whom I know are young. I’ve met twenty-somethings who are worth millions of dollars, investing in VC, starting tech companies and disrupting industries. One of the ways that they’ve built their businesses is by experiencing ups and downs, and creating trust in that way.

Experience breeds trust, but you can’t experience anything unless you go for it. You may fail, and that’s OK, because you’ve gained valuable lessons, and you’ve built trust.

6. Honesty — always telling the truth

At its core, trustworthiness is about honesty. People will only trust you if they know you’re telling the truth.

I can’t think of a business situation where it is better to lie than to tell the truth. As cliche as it may be, honesty is the best policy.

Conclusion

In a business environment that is dripping with inauthenticity, artificiality and scam deals, you’ve got to be a person that people can trust.

Trustworthiness creates its own reputation. As you prove your ability to be trusted, other people will trust you. This creates a cascade of trusting relationships, which lead to profitable business deals. You simply can’t go wrong by being trustworthy.

There will be times when you’re tempted to cut corners or do some little under-the-table deals. Avoid it. It can take a lifetime to build trustworthiness, but it can come crumbling down with one wrong move.

What personality traits do you think are important for being a trusted person?

When an Employee Is On Call, Is That Working?

Waiting on Phone

Your employee is on call, but does that mean he or she is on the clock? Jennifer Palagi of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore takes on the issue in a recent post. She says that in some cases, wage-and-hour law requires on-call time to be paid at minimum wage (or more) if it is “controlled.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has come up with two predominant factors that must be assessed when determining if the time is compensable: 1) the degree to which the employee is free to engage in personal activities, and 2) the agreements between the parties.

Whether the employee is free during on-call hours depends on if there are restrictions to his or her movement, an on-premises living requirement and whether on-call responsibilities could be easily traded, among other elements. As for the agreement, this could be analyzed by a court to see whether the two parties characterize wait time as work or have decided that the person will be paid only for time spent performing an actual job, explains Palagi. She warns companies to structure on-call assignments effectively with an eye to these laws and also to have a clear on-call policy in place.

Dentons Breaks Down the Glass Wall in China

Dentons

Throughout GLI’s history, we have worked closely with Dentons in order to assist them in growing their national and global presence.  We are proud to see Dentons’ latest merger has topped the legal news charts in recent weeks.  With good reason: the merger will undoubtedly make Dentons the largest firm in the world by head count.  The combined firm will have over 6,500 lawyers and will span across more than 50 countries.  But an equally amazing feat is that Dentons managed to further break the barrier between US and China Law.  It’s no secret American Law firms have been having issues breaking into the Chinese markets, but Dentons has certainly made those issues old news.

Something we notice that makes Dentons successful is the firm’s mastery of the use of the verein structure. This allows the firm to merge much more easily with other firms.  Another great benefit of this structure is the firm does not have to worry should China’s attempts at legal changes not emerge.  This offers Dentons great flexibility in the mergers they choose.

We are proud Dentons is merging with Dacheng as we have noticed a swell in the growth of Tier 2 cities in China and Dacheng has 42 offices in China including plenty in Tier 2 cities.  This merger for Dentons will greatly increase their market share in China from around 50 attorneys practicing in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to over 4,000 attorneys throughout China.  It is not likely we will see any other Am Law firm take such rapid strides into the Chinese market with Dacheng and Dentons cornering the market.

Our Top Legal Recruiter, Nancy Grimes, has great relationships with the leaders of Dentons US.  Because of these great relationships, Grimes was able to get further comments from the firms’ leaders: Joe Andrew and Elliott Portnoy.  We are happy to share their opinions regarding what this merger means for the future of Dentons:

Joe Andrew.Dentons

“With more lawyers in more places where our clients do business, this combination is not about being the largest law firm in the world it is about understanding what our clients need and delivering it. As the only big 10 firm not headquartered in the US or UK, our polycentric approach reflects how the global economy has fundamentally changed and the legal profession must change with it.”

-Joe Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons.

“With the largest and fastest growing economy in the world, the attraction of China to our clients is strong. All of our competitors are looking East. By

Elliot Portnoy.Dentonsuniting East and West in one firm—not merely through a few offices in large cities, but with a deep presence across China—we can provide

Chinese businesses with global ambitions and international clients with interests inside China a reach and depth that simply can’t be found elsewhere.”

-Elliott Portnoy, Global Chief Executive Officer Dentons.

Litchfield Cavo Logo

Litchfield Cavo is Shaking Up the Law Firm Experience

Flexibility is the name of the game for Chicago-based firm, Litchfield Cavo.  In 1998, Litchfield Cavo was formed by a group of attorneys who were frustrated by the structures and policies of the typical American law firm.  The founding partners felt some firms of the time lacked synergy and true ambition for the future.  They sought to create a firm focused solely on client service in the areas of defense litigation, business litigation, and insurance coverage on behalf of the insurers which streamlined the legal process.  They soon realized they had created a firm culture which was highly desired in the legal community.

The firm soon grew from a small group of attorneys with a dream to the National Law Journal ranked firm of today.  The members of the firm grew their ranks by networking with attorneys they believed would thrive in their culture and business model.  Alan Becker, the firm’s Managing Partner, recently told Nancy Grimes, a legal recruiter for GLI, “the type of professional who is often interested in the firm is an up and coming partner in another firm who has begun to develop business but whose firm bases compensation on seniority.”  In situations such as these, attorneys feel undervalued and feel less obligated to perform excellent work.  Often attorneys in situations like this thrive in a business model such as Litchfield Cavo’s because they are able to perform superb work for their clients while they are compensated accordingly.

Litchfield Cavo operates as a meritocracy.  The leaders of the firm value contributions more than the age or reputation of an attorney because they want to see results.  In this firm where partners outweigh associates, the youngest partner can be the highest earning.  Compensation is transparent and determined based on contributions to the firm.  This approach allows the firm to be effectively entrepreneurial and appealing to potential attorneys.

Office Staff

Another characteristic of Litchfield Cavo which goes with their flexibility is their agility and lightning speed reaction time when special circumstances dictate it.  Becker takes pride in the firm’s terrific support staff, which is able to provide quick turn-around.  Just last year, the firm was able to add a team member and provide them with their own email address, office and support staff in just a matter of days.  Becker attributes much of the firm’s flexibility to the office staff who makes it all possible.  Becker says that he is focused on recruiting and developing the best office support possible for his firm.

Apart from the firm’s flexibility, the firm also enjoys stability.  The firm does not try to tempt fate by adding new offices; they simply open new offices as they are needed.  The offices are then built up through networking.  Typically, a chain reaction begins with a new hire: the attorney becomes a part of the firm, is impressed with the firm’s management and culture, calls other attorneys they know to tell them about the firm, and the firm makes another new hire through the networking process.

An additional stabilizing factor is the firm’s lack of debt.  The firm is completely self-capitalized, apart from office lease obligations.  This lack of debt allows its members to have comfort in knowing there is a Litchfield Cavo office today and there will be tomorrow.

Unlike so many other firms where the Managing Partners seem to be viewed as the “Great and Alan BeckerPowerful Oz,” Becker ensures he is personally involved in the decision making for all new employees.  If the recruit is in Chicago, Becker personally does the first interview.  He also participates in a teleconference interview for those who are not local.  Since Becker’s implementation of an electronic voting and partner nomination system, the firm can guarantee quick firm-wide decisions.  The firm’s flexibility also expands into their two-tiered partnership.  The firm is able to quickly bring new members on board who will be participating partners.  Qualified candidates may also come aboard as capital partners, although the interviewing process is more extended.

Becker believes the most challenging part of being a managing partner is maintaining the firm’s overall profitability.  He understands the more the firm makes, the more the firm’s partners will make.  Alan Becker has been the Managing Partner of the firm since its inception in 1998.  On top of managing the firm, Becker also maintains a full case load.  He believes that no matter what other responsibilities he has, his clients always deserve his best service.

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Learning How to Become a Leader

By: Dorie Clark

As we rise into leadership roles, it’s not always easy to walk the talk. Of course, we want to be wise sages, counseling our charges and inspiring them to greatness. But that’s easier said than done. The challenge was particularly acute for Karl Allen, co-founder and CEO of Planet Jockey, a company that creates management courses in the form of online games. He knew it would be a sad irony if the head of a company selling leadership games wasn’t much of a leader, himself. So he vowed to step up – and here are the lessons he learned through playing his company’s games and vowing to become the right kind of CEO.

Recognize where you’re starting. Planet Jockey’s game teaches the principles of “buoyant leadership” – what Allen describes as “a concept whereby, as a leader, you float [on top] because the people you lead believe you deserve it.” (The concept is discussed in depth in a book called The Case of the Missing Cutlery by Kevin Allen, Karl’s partner in business and life.) But Karl recognizes that while buoyancy is the goal, he won’t always be perfect. “I can do it at times,” he says. “But sometimes [negative] instinct takes over, and it takes over really fast.” These days, he can recognize when he feels his temper rising at work, and can guide himself back into a more inspirational mode of leadership.Lets talk

Say what you mean. In evaluating his leadership style, Karl Allen recognized that sometimes in the past, he’s prioritized being ‘nice’ – which has driven him to avoid saying what he really means. That doesn’t serve anyone, he’s concluded. He recalls one incident where he felt one of Planet Jockey’sUdemy classes wasn’t gaining traction fast enough. The best possible reaction, he says, would have been to tell his staffer, “You’re doing an amazing job, and I’ve got a great idea for all the ways we can grow further.” He also could have directly discussed the critiques he had of the marketing. Instead, he recalls, “I phoned her up and said, ‘I think we’re really dropping the ball.’ It’s passive-aggressive, because when I say ‘we,’ I mean ‘you.’ And that’s terrible and destructive.” Planet Jockey’s games have helped him to realize where he went wrong.

Meetings are critical. One of the areas where Allen knows he fell short initially was in running staff meetings. “Before, I’d just get everyone into a meeting and start chatting and people would shout at me and I’d shout back at them,” he recalls. “What I learned after playing the game is that you need some rules. It’s not just about inspiring people; meetings need to be structured. For instance, you need smaller meetings, so you should try to limit it to 6-8 people. That way you know you can get to hear everybody’s point of view and everyone gets a chance to talk.” Overall, he says, “You need to know what needs to come out of the meeting, and have a clear sense of who’s there and why they’re there.magnifying talent

Search for hidden talents. Early on, says Allen, he would sometimes take too narrow a view of what others could contribute. “The game taught me that people within your team have a lot more to offer than sometimes you realize,” he says. As a result, he started a team practice in which staffers sit down and share what they’re doing outside of work. That’s how he learned about one employee’s side calligraphy business, which she was pursuing with a friend who worked at a company Allen was targeting. Allen had always thought of his staffer as being expert in “digital marketing, not face-to-face sales.” But with a little coaching, she was able to persuade her friend to make an introduction at her company. “I realized she has an amazing sales persona,” says Allen. “She built that skill and we got a huge piece of business.”

The conversation is what matters. When it comes to a topic like leadership, there will never be 100% agreement about the best approach to a given situation. That’s how Allen came to realize that the real value of the game is in the conversation it sparks. “The learning from the game wasn’t even so much from the game itself,” he says. “The learning is from the reflection on the game – how well you did, or thought you did…You learn because you have to fight it out and discuss it [with colleagues]. The answers are ambiguous and part of a learning process.”

Becoming a great leader isn’t easy. It’s especially challenging when you’re running a company that’s predicated on teaching others how to lead. As Karl Allen shows, opening up about your mistakes and the learning process along the way is part of what it takes to truly succeed.

Clark, Dorie. “Learning How To Become a Leader.” Forbes. Forbes, 8 Jan. 2015. Web. 9 Jan. 2015.