public mistakes.jpeg

…it doesn’t count as a failure. I’ve paraphrased Robert Gehorsam, one of the Linchpins Seth Godin profiles in “The Insubordinate Book,” a 40-page free e-book coda to his bestselling “Linchpin.”

That particular remark grabbed me because of its significance to lawyers, particularly as it relates to a way to ease at least one common business development struggle.

Much has been written about lawyers’ personality typing.  According to Gini Nelson’s article, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Applications in a Law Practice,

“Statistically, lawyers’ type is significantly different from most other adults in the US. Attorneys tend to be intuitives (57%) while seventy-five percent (75%) of the U.S. population is born with a sensing preference.

Among US males, 56% have a thinking preference, compared to 81% of US male attorneys. The difference is even more striking for females: 25% of US females have a thinking preference, 66% of US female attorneys. Lawyers are more likely to prefer judging to perceiving.

These differences may create a gap in understanding between lawyers and non-lawyers, although top corporate executives are surprisingly similar to lawyers in type.”

One upshot of this orientation is a pronounced aversion to making mistakes publicly, an important factor in many lawyers’ reluctance even to attempt to market or sell. Since few lawyers have been trained to market or sell (and they are very different skills), they reasonably perceive a likelihood of saying or doing something wrong that will reflect unfavorably on them.

Mike O'Horo

RainmakerVT’s virtual world provides lawyers with a safe, private simulation environment where they can learn these principles, practice the skills, receive coaching and feedback and, yes, fail – where no one’s looking.  (They can even turn off the coaching assistance and give it a try without the “training wheels.”)

Most lawyers’ level of marketing/sales activity is very low, at least compared to professional sales people, so their newly-acquired knowledge will atrophy between infrequent opportunities in the real world. That’s why we’ll encourage them to use the “rehearsal mode” to refresh their knowledge and skill before each sales call, networking event, beauty contest or media interaction.

The lesson:  Fail while no one’s looking; it doesn’t count as a failure, but as practice.