Women’s Initiative Team 04|2013 The Upside of Failure S uppose you have two products, a mobile phone and a vacuum cleaner. And let’s say one of them—the vacuum cleaner— works great. It sucks up all the dog hair and dirt in your house and never gives you a problem. The phone, on the other hand, starts giving you problems a couple of weeks after you buy it. So you call the manufacturer, explain your problem, and the manufacturer sends you a replacement phone that arrives the next day. Now, which manufacturer are you most likely to praise to your friends: the one that made a reliable product that didn’t give you any problems or the one that sold you a glitchy product but fixed it immediately? If you’re like most customers, you’re probably happiest with the phone company, despite the fact that it caused you significantly more trouble than the vacuum company. That’s the upside of failure: it can give us the chance to impress more than if we hadn’t messed up in the first place. Failure, and how we respond to it, highlights a whole host of positive attributes, including resilience, adaptability, intelligence and stamina. Everybody may love a winner, but almost all winners experienced dozens, if not thousands, of failures before they found a winning formula. Sir James Dyson, the inventor of a best-selling bagless vacuum cleaner, claims to have made 5,126 prototypes before he finally found one that worked. In this issue of Straightline, we’ll show you how failure, while it can be humiliating and demoralizing, isn’t the career-ender it can feel like. In fact, it is literally a necessary part of life. So ignore those motivational posters declaring that “Failure is not an option.” In order for us to grow and evolve, failure must be an option. ONCE AGAIN, DARWIN WAS RIGHT The consequences of failure are all around us. In fact, every living species is here today because their ancestors unwittingly tried, failed and ultimately succeeded (based on those failures) to adapt to their surroundings. Each failure was followed by another adaptation that either failed again or helped that species survive and reproduce. A healthy acceptance of failure, and the knowledge that it’s not the end of the world, can inspire us to become more resilient and take more and smarter risks. Without failure, evolution simply can’t happen. Tim Harford even argues in his book “Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure” that the Soviets’ intolerance of trial and error— and the adaptations and improvements that come out of that process—was one of the main reasons communism collapsed. A healthy acceptance of failure, and the knowledge that it’s not the end of the world, can inspire us to become more resilient and take more and smarter risks. It can also boost creativity, because knowing what doesn’t work can put us one step closer to finding out what does work. And, just as important, acknowledging the possibility of failure helps us to become better prepared and have a Plan B or even a Plan C ready to go should our Plan A fall apart. BOUNCING BACK The instructive genius of failure doesn’t lie in accepting its inevitability. It lies in how we react to it. If we don’t adapt and learn from it, then we’ve missed the point. The first step is to acknowledge the failure and put it in perspective. Did it put you behind on a project? Did it harm your strategic position in some way? If so, can the immediate impact be mitigated? You may need to do some repair work, but even that can be instructional. Don’t be too focused on “trying to find the positive” and ignoring the negative about what happened, because that limits your ability to learn from what went wrong. (As a side note, if you’ve made a mistake that impacts others, such as ©2013. Produced by Andrews Kurth’s Women’s Initiative Team. Welcome to Straightline Straightline is a publication from Andrews Kurth for women, by women. We will give you the bottom line on women’s issues, be on the front line for timely substantive legal topics and serve as the hotline for firm news. We’ll introduce you to fresh faces at Andrews Kurth, provide a pipeline of topical legal updates, and promise to infuse some fun features, facts and resources along the way. So join us for what promises to be Straight Talk on women’s issues. No lawyerspeak. No double talk. Just the most direct line between you and our women lawyers. clients, colleagues or shareholders, by all means, disclose the mistake as honestly and as soon as possible, or else the error becomes compounded by delay and dishonesty.) Look for causes of the failure, but not blame. Was there a breakdown of communication? Did a vendor not come through? Whatever the cause or causes of the failure were, develop a plan to avoid those issues next time. This is most likely not a one-person job. If the failure was on a team project, the analysis and regroup should also be a team effort. If the failure was more personal (a job loss, a break-up, etc.), seek the honest advice of your closest friends, a mentor, or even a life coach or therapist. When gathering information, the most important thing to do is listen. Don’t explain or make excuses. Chances are, if you’re getting honest feedback, you’re going to hear some criticism of your skills or behavior. Try not to get defensive or tune out your critics. Take notes and be open to the prospect that some or all of your early assumptions and subsequent actions were wrong. Once you’ve analyzed your failure, refocus your efforts and take action. There’s no guarantee that your next attempt will be a success, but it’s sure to be an improvement over your last effort. Continued on page 2 andrewskurth.com Sidelines Andrews Kurth was ranked 23rd among the top 100 fundraising teams for the 2012 Houston Race for the Cure, raising over $12,000. The Firm jumped 13 spots from its 2011 ranking of 36th. Additionally, Andrews Kurth maintained the title of top law firm fundraising team in Houston. On January 10, 2013, Andrews Kurth hosted “Briefing the Board: 2013 Annual Disclosure Seminar.” Many of the Firm︐s top clients, including many Andrews Kurth alumni, came to hear the seasoned advice and latest updates about annual disclosure changes and trends from a panel of corporate partners including Melinda Brunger (Houston). On January 25, 2013, the Center for Women in Law (the Center) at The University of Texas School of Law unveiled the “Wall of Founders.” Among the 52 Founding Members included on the Wall of Founders are Terri Lacy (Houston), Meredith Mouer (Houston), Shemin Proctor (Washington, DC), Robin Russell (Houston) and Kathleen Wu (Dallas). Andrews Kurth has selected Partner Kelly Sandill (Houston) to participate as a member of the 2013 class of Fellows, a landmark program created by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) to identify, train and advance the next generation of leaders in the legal profession. Partner and Chief Diversity Officer Elizabeth Campbell (Houston) has been named one of “Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2012” by Houston Woman Magazine. Andrews Kurth attorneys Lydia González Gromatzky (Austin), Meghan E. Griffiths (Austin) and Courtney E. Ervin (Houston) have been elected to membership in the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation. Fellows of the Foundation are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout the state of Texas. Kathleen Wu (Dallas) has been selected for the second consecutive year to serve on the Dallas Regional Panel of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. The prestigious panel is a mix of hand-selected Dallas civic and private sector leaders appointed to help select the year’s national finalists for the White House Fellowship program. Founded in 1964, the White House Fellows program is one of America’s most esteemed programs for leadership and public service. White House Fellowships offer exceptional young men and women first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. The Upside of Failure Continued from page 1 SO, YOU’VE BEEN FIRED. NOW WHAT? Being fired is a special category of failure, since it’s such a personal and life-altering failure. And, unless you’re independently wealthy, it usually means the loss of your livelihood. Still, most successful people today can recount at least one time they were fired, and many will insist that although it was a soul-crushing experience at the time, it was ultimately positive because it was a catalyst for positive change. Getting fired can spark self-analysis like almost no other event in our lifetimes. It can cause us to question the assumptions we make about ourselves, including our skills, our work ethic, and our character. It can also be the kick in the pants we needed to change careers or open the business we’ve only ever dreamed about. Before you do any of that, however, it’s time to wallow. Former Cosmopolitan editor Kate White, author of “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know,” says the recently fired should take some time—a couple of days at most—to be depressed, catch up on your Netflix queue, and spend some time with Ben & Jerry. A day or two in sweatpants is crucial to jumping back in the game with renewed energy, if only because you realize how little you truly enjoy spending your days on the couch. Then get busy. If your company provides outplacement services as part of your severance agreement, take them up on it. In fact, ask them for more than they initially offered. Finding out what went wrong is crucial, even if you fear it may be awkward or uncomfortable. You may have already learned this during the termination process, but if you didn’t, contact your old boss or your former colleagues to see if they can lend any insight. Were your work habits not what they should be? Was the quality of your work lacking? Were you lacking in some critical skills? Put the information you gathered to good use and be honest with yourself. You may learn that your strengths don’t lie where you think they lie. Or maybe you need to dedicate yourself to becoming a better writer or public speaker. Whatever you learn about what went wrong, do what you need to do to address those shortcomings. Most importantly, don’t burn any bridges. Don’t rant on Facebook or bad-mouth your former employer or colleagues. A classy exit (such as Ann Curry’s from the “Today Show”) earns fans and can help open doors. Acceptance of failure—whether it’s being fired or botching a presentation—as a natural phenomenon doesn’t mean that failure is the preferred result or that success is somehow undesirable. It simply means that failure isn’t the end of the world. It is a necessary part of the world we all live in, and by accepting that, it means success isn’t as unattainable as we think it is. 1 Brighten Your Day 2 Give your skin a concentrated boost of intensive moisture with one of these invigorating & brightening facial oils. They︐re beneficial for all skin types and can be applied in the morning, underneath makeup, and before bed in the evening. The anti-aging & nourishing properties will give you visible results in no time. Luckily, many of today︐s top skincare brands are introducing facial oils to their product lines, and their prices run the gamut from cost-conscious to splurge city. We︐ve selected three oils that represent the low, medium and high ends of the spectrum. 1.JOSIE MARAN ARGAN CLEANSING OIL $32 at josiemarancosmetics.com 2.BOBBI BROWN EXTRA FACE OIL 3 3. RODIN OLIO LUSSO LUXURY FACE OIL $150 at oliolusso.com $62 at bobbibrowncosmetics.com Andrews Kurth is a proud sponsor of Dress for Success Houston. Their mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. The firm participated in the “S.O.S” (Send One Suit) Suit Drive from March 18–28, and collected 126 suits and $7,745 in monetary donations, which equals 229 suits. The firm also supports the organization through membership in their Corporate Guild, which is a group of corporations in Houston that pledge their support to Dress for Success throughout the year and attend various networking events with top female executives. The firm was also a contributor to the Capital Campaign for Dress for Success that allowed the organization to become the first affiliate ©2013. Produced by Andrews Kurth’s Women’s Initiative Team. Makes you attractive Changes your mood Is contagious Relieves stress Boosts your immune system Lowers your blood pressure Releases endorphins Makes you seem successful Helps you stay positive Lifts the face and makes you look younger andrewskurth.com Top of the Line Gifts for every mom in your life, whether you are buying for your mom or a friend who is a great mother, or perhaps you just need a list to give to your kids. 4 1 3 Side Guide 1. Bag & Purse Organizer From $38 at etsy.com/shop/DivideAndConquer Organize and keep track of your personal belongings when you︐re on the go. And when you want to switch bags, simply move this organizer from one to the other. 2. 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These designer Adidas are crafted from lightweight mesh, promising efficiency and durability. 8. C ashmere Shawl $185 at theredtwist.com Made from 100% Mongolian cashmere, this one-size-fits-all wrap is straightforward, yet essential for every wardrobe. 8 7 9. Monogram Lacquer Jewelry Box $78 at cwonder.com This chic lacquered jewelry box is velvet lined and adorned with an initial clasp, and comes in four cheerful colors. Perfect for stashing keepsakes and personal items. Promo code: AndrewsKurth15 for 15% off. 10. E ssential Aroma Kit $35 at drsharoninc.com Relax, energize and balance. Lessen life︐s stresses with this revitalizing set. 10 11 9 11. M aya Brenner Letter Necklace $220 at mayabrenner.com An understated way to show some love. Choose to wear 1, 2 or 3 letters close to your heart. Necklaces are available in yellow and white gold. 12. F armhouse Fresh Whoopie! Cream $30 at farmhousefreshgoods.com A jarful of joy! Don︐t resist starting a morning or saying farewell to each day with this shea butter whip. Contains scents of white velvet cream and moist layer cake. Promo code: momsday for 20% off. 13 13. U P Bracelet by Jawbone From $130 at jawbone.com The wristband and app that track everything from your movement and moods to power naps and diet. Available in 8 versatile colors. 14 12 andrewskurth.com 14. Fitness Carryall $106 at luglife.com This bag boasts oodles of pockets and compartments, perfect for carrying your items, big or small. And it comes in 11 vibrant colors. Indicates female-owned business ©2013. Produced by Andrews Kurth’s Women’s Initiative Team. Estate Planning Basics A quick guide, recognizing April as National Financial Literacy Month by Terri Lacy, Partner E state planning is nothing more than developing a process to identify and transfer your property, whether during your lifetime or at your death. Anything that you care about—from an old rocking chair that belonged to your grandmother to a cabin where your family spends its vacations—is important enough to justify estate planning. If you have a minor child, you have estate planning concerns. Who will raise your child if you are unable to do so? Who will manage any assets your child might inherit? If you do not have an estate plan, some states (including Texas) will determine what happens to your estate, and it might not be what you would want. Consider the following estate planning tools. TRUSTS A trust is a common estate planning tool that can be created during lifetime, such a trust being referred to as an inter vivos trust, or under a Will, such a trust being referred to as a testamentary trust. A trust requires the transfer of property to an individual or corporate trustee, who then manages and distributes the property for the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. An inter vivos trust can be revocable or irrevocable. With a revocable trust, the grantor has access to the trust property. With an irrevocable trust, the assets of the trust no longer belong to the grantor but are owned by the trust. 21% of Americans have a trust arranged LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT source: Lawyers.com survey via Forbes A Last Will and Testament, or Will, is the cornerstone of all estate plans. A Will is a personal declaration of your intentions about the distribution of your property at death, and everyone should have one. By making a Will, you can decide who will receive or benefit from your property, how much each beneficiary will receive, and when each beneficiary will receive his share. If you die without a Will, your property may be distributed according to state law and without any specific direction from you about who receives your assets and in what proportion. The reasons for creating trusts are varied and may include: • Ensuring professional management and investment of the trust property. • Minimizing estate and gift taxes. • Distributing assets efficiently without the expense and delay of probate. • Placing conditions on how and when the trust assets should be distributed, and when the trust should terminate. 35% of Americans report having a will source: Lawyers.com survey via Forbes In addition to directing the distribution of your property, your Will appoints a personal representative, called an executor, of your estate. The executor is responsible for overseeing the management and distribution of your estate. Some assets, such as IRAs and life insurance policies that may constitute part of an estate, are paid directly to the designated beneficiary of the asset and are not part of the disposition of property under a Will. Because a Will is not legally enforceable until your death, it may be changed at any time during your lifetime if you are mentally competent. A Codicil is a separate document that adds to or amends the terms of your Will. A Codicil is best used for minor changes rather than a complete overhaul of a Will. The execution of a Codicil requires the same legal formalities as the execution of a Will. It makes good sense to review your Will periodically to confirm that the terms of the Will are consistent with your intentions. Everyone’s circumstances change over time. For example, a parent may execute a Will when a child is born and the parent’s intentions for the child’s inheritance may change as the child grows, making it important to review and update the Will. It’s estimated that over 120,000,000 Americans do not have up-to-date estate plans to protect themselves or their families. source: estateplanninganswers.org “Like” us on Facebook: Andrews Kurth LLP Follow us on Twitter @ twitter.com/andrewskurthllp Find us on LinkedIn Find us on Google + DIRECTIVE TO PHYSICIANS & MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY A Directive to Physicians (commonly known as a Living Will) expresses your wishes, based on your own personal beliefs and values, regarding the continuation of artificial life support in the event of certain terminal or irreversible medical conditions. The decision about life support is made by you as a competent adult so that your family is not left to make the decision at a later date. Estate planning is not only valuable for the individual considering the plan, but it also eases the burden of decision-making for those who are left behind. A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an agent to make health care decisions for you, including life support decisions, in the event you are physically or mentally unable to make medical decisions for yourself. FRESH FACES With much excitement, we welcome these new lawyers to the Andrews Kurth team. Dianah Brown, Dallas Dianah Brown joins the Dallas office as a Senior Attorney in the Corporate section. Dianah︐s practice encompasses a variety of corporate and transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, negotiating license agreements, and various legal issues related to software licensing and intellectual property. She also has experience in matters relating to trademarks, copyright registration and protection, franchising services and licensing. Dianah earned her J.D., cum laude, from Tulane University Law School in 1998. In 1994, she received her B.A., cum laude, from the University of North Texas. Michelle Kwan, Austin Michelle Kwan joins the Austin office as Of Counsel in the Corporate/ Securities section. Michelle︐s practice focuses on corporate and securities matters, including U.S. and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, equity financings, and private placements. She also regularly counsels companies, entrepreneurs and investors on forming and operating businesses, raising capital through private and public offerings, buying and selling companies, and complying with the periodic reporting requirements of the federal securities laws. Michelle earned her J.D., with honors, from The University of Texas School of Law in 1995. In 1989, she received her B.S., cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. Team WIT Co-CHAIRS: Bob Jewell, [email protected] Meredith Mouer, [email protected] MEMBERS: Tammy Brennig Elizabeth Campbell Marty DeBusk Deborah Grabein Amy Hancock Donna Kim Kendall Lowery Thomas Perich Shemin Proctor Robin Russell Michele Schwartz Lisa Shelton Laura Trenaman Kathleen Wu HIPAA RELEASE The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted to protect the privacy of medical and health information; as a result, the release of medical information is strictly guarded. With a HIPAA release, you may authorize your health care providers to allow one or more designated agents to have access to your medical records and information. DECLARATION OF GUARDIANSHIP You may designate a future guardian for yourself or for your minor children. In the event you become incapacitated, a guardian of your estate manages your assets and a guardian of your person takes legal responsibility for you as an individual. An individual may act as both guardian of the estate and of the person, but it may be advisable to separate the responsibilities in order to establish a system of checks and balances. In a document designating a guardian, you may also specifically disqualify certain persons from serving. Although there are many options to consider when deciding on how to transfer your property or plan for your future needs, the tools listed here describe some of the key aspects of estate planning. Estate planning is not only valuable for the individual considering the plan, but it also eases the burden of decision-making for those who are left behind. ADVISORY MEMBERS: Courtney Culver Stakem Kelli Dinneen Straightline EDITOR IN CHIEF: Kathleen Wu, [email protected] EDITORIAL BOARD: Donna Kim Shemin Proctor Laura Trenaman For more information, please contact Courtney Culver Stakem at 214.659.4689 or [email protected]. 600 Travis Suite 4200 | Houston, Texas 77002 | Tel: 713.220.4200 | Fax: 713.220.4285 ©2013. andrewskurth.com LEAD READS Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be: The World’s Best-Selling Book By: Kate White By: Paul Arden Kate White reflects on her career running five major magazines, including one of the bestselling women︐s magazines in the world, Cosmopolitan, to share her secrets to success. Her book tells us how to break away from the pack, master ever-changing learning curves, make bold moves, and go after the career we︐ve always lusted for! Make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible with this handbook on how to succeed in the world. Paul Arden gives us wisdom on how to best play the cards we︐ve been dealt. He shares unique insights into the world of advertising, and gives us ways to apply what he︐s learned in our everyday lives. If you want to succeed in life or business, it︐s a must-read! LIFEHACKER.COM GETPOCKET.COM THEGRINDSTONE.COM Tips and tools for getting things done. This site shares real-world knowledge on all things personal and professional. Topics run the gamut from how to remain productive when you travel to the five kitchen skills you need to make your life easier. Find something interesting but don︐t have time to view it? Put it in Pocket. Once saved to Pocket, your content is visible on any device—phone, tablet or computer. It can be viewed while waiting in line, on the couch or during commutes or travel—even offline. Looking for a funny anecdote or ways to balance work & life? This site is a great place for the working woman to go to share their amusements, gain career & life advice, and learn how to survive as they move up the ladder. By: Tim Harford Renowned economist Tim Harford shares the ingredients required for turning failure into success. He gives us an inspiring approach to solving today’s challenges and argues that they simply cannot be tackled with ready-made solutions and expert opinion. Instead, he outlines the importance of adaptive trial and error, which fosters innovation and creativity in our everyday lives. andrewskurth.com Sweat the Small Stuff D etails matter, particularly when you’re the intended audience of whatever’s being presented. Typos, misspellings, out-of-order pages—all are infuriating, and all serve as red flags to a potential client or boss who may be thinking “if she can’t get the small stuff right, I can’t trust her to get the big stuff right.” On the other hand, exceptional thoughtfulness can help win over even the most hardened critic. American businesses that obsess over the small stuff stand out, and they earn customer loyalty. The late Steve Jobs was known for his obsession with detail, a fact that certainly made him a demanding taskmaster but that also created beautifully designed computers, phones and tablets that have done nothing less than revolutionize our daily lives. And anyone who has been to a Disney property can attest to the special touches that make their parks destinations that families travel from around the world to see, often on an annual basis. Apple and Disney prove that customers are willing to pay a premium for a high-quality product. Likewise, companies that do a poor job of sweating the “small stuff ”—order fulfillment, customer service, sanitation, etc.—usually find that customers soon grow tired of being taken for granted. The same holds true for individuals. People who deliver high-quality work that shows, not just an attention to detail, but a commitment to knocking others’ socks off, are highly valued and sought after. And those who turn in sloppy work and show up late, covered in dog hair, generally don’t sweat the small stuff and are seldom on the A Team. Of course, cultivating an attention to detail can do more than just win fans in the workplace. Noticing the details and finding ways to make your work the best it can be requires slowing down, asking yourself “how can I make this better,” and pushing the bounds of your own abilities. The results of those efforts are far greater than can be measured in a raise or annual review. So how can you bring a healthy obsession with detail to your work? We’ve compiled several suggestions, at least some of which you (hopefully) already do, plus a few new ones: Anticipate others’ needs Find ways to say “I took the liberty of coming up with a Plan B” or taking some other action that anticipates and fulfills your colleague’s, client’s or boss’s needs. Communicate more than you need to Don’t leave others guessing about what’s expected of them or what they need to know before a meeting. If members of your team ask you a question you think you’ve already answered, assume the rest of your team also has the same question and affirmatively answer it for them. Be a Girl Scout She’s always prepared, does a good turn daily, and always leaves a place cleaner than she found it. Don’t point out problems Don︐t point out problems unless you have at least the beginnings of a proposed solution, then aim to gather some colleagues for a productive brainstorming session. Clean your desk Stacks of papers, dirty coffee cups, and overflowing trash bins don’t say “eccentric genius.” They just say “slob.” Clean out your email inbox Chances are you get too many spam emails anyway, so unsubscribe from those emails you never read. Spend some time clearing out and processing what’s left. Once you have a clean (or nearly clean) slate, resolve to respond to those emails that need a response within a day, and delete or archive the rest. Same thing with your voicemail. Don’t let your callers receive a “mailbox full” message. Look at yourself as others see you What do they see? Professional or frantic? Clean desk or Superfund site? Take a moment to evaluate yourself, your home, your work environment through the eyes of a stranger. If what you see is alarming, commit to changing it. Treat deadlines as immovable Create a timeline and mobilize your team to finish your projects a few days early, to allow time for the inevitable last-minute crises. Ask “how can we make this better?” Time and budget constraints may prohibit your making more than minor tweaks, but sometimes just changing fonts and improving the layout of a document can make a dramatic difference. Notice what gets changed Once you turn in a project, chances are it goes through a few revisions before it’s final. Take the time to notice what was changed. You may be making the same mistake each time and making your colleagues more and more frustrated by the day. This is a simple way to improve your skill sets. Proofread Don’t send an email, memo, letter or report without proofreading it. Remove abbreviations and language that is too casual for professional communications. When necessary, have a colleague with “fresh eyes” proofread it. Imbue your team with an “attention to detail” mindset If they see you not settling for “good enough,” that will become the rule. And vice versa. Taking a few extra steps to ensure you’re giving others your best is a worthwhile habit to develop. You may not become the next Steve Jobs, but you’ll be painting a professional portrait of yourself that will pay off many times over.
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