Month: February 2011

February 27, 2011

$100,000 and Counting to Make More Smiles

It’s amazing what can be done when we all work together to make a difference. Cydcor and our network of independent sales offices hit the $100,000 mark  for Operation Smile  – just $50,000 more to reach out goal to fund an entire Operation Smile Medical Mission. It has been inspiring to see what unique and fun ways we have come up with to raise money – bowling, stach for cash, car washes, auctions, raffles, you name it. The best part is – we won’t stop till we hit our goal, because we have such an important cause to support.

“Our network of sales teams uses every interaction with a customer to build our clients’ brands,” said Vera Quinn, senior vice president of sales operations. “To watch that incredible focus and passion apply to raising funds for this very worthy cause has been amazing to witness.”

Cydcor’s Operation Smile ambassador, Barbara Majeski, summed up the company’s motivation in supporting the charity: “Every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft condition. Our employees are leaders in their communities all over the country in supporting their communities through service, so extending that to such an important cause was natural. The level of their generosity and commitment to others is what is truly astounding.”

To read the complete story, click here.

February 22, 2011

Habit 7 – Sharpen The Saw – Is All About You

Spring is a season of renewal and growth—and with that season nearly upon us – now is a perfect setting in which to reflect on our progress during the first few months of the New Year: how we’re tracking on our personal and professional goals, commitments and development plans.

At this timely moment, we’ve reached Covey’s seventh habit of effectiveness, “Sharpen the Saw.” In the spirit of reflection, it seems fitting to consider this final habit in the context of all the others before it.

“Sharpen the Saw” is a Quadrant 2 activity (important but not urgent) requiring time, initiative and pro-activity. It makes all the other habits possible when we practice self-renewal and self-improvement in four areas.

The first three are closely related to Habits 1, 2 and 3—the principles of personal vision, leadership and management. The fourth focuses on Habits 4, 5 and 6—the principles of interpersonal leadership, empathy and creative cooperation:

 Physical: Caring effectively for our physical bodies through exercise, nutrition and stress-management

Spiritual: Renewing our commitment to our core values through spiritual reading, study and meditation

Mental: Honing and expanding our minds and discipline through education, reading, visualization, planning and writing

Social/emotional: Strengthening our relationships through service, empathy, synergy and good character

Habit 7 teaches us how to maintain a balance among these dimensions so that we can reach higher levels of understanding and effectiveness in our lives and relationships. According to Covey, it’s all about preserving and enhancing our most important asset—ourselves—so that we can do and be our best:

By centering our lives on correct principles and creating a balanced focus between doing and increasing our ability to do, we become empowered in the task of creating effective, useful, and peaceful lives…for ourselves, and for our posterity.

Exercising the 7 Habits on a path of continuous growth and renewal helps us become more principled, more purposeful and more productive in ways that make a positive impact not only in our lives, but also in the lives of those around us. It’s a powerful lesson and aspiration for all of us—one I hope you’ll embrace, as I do.

– Vera

February 14, 2011

Habit 6: Synergize

The term “synergy” is often the fodder for jokes, ridiculed as corporate jargon that’s overused and abused in offices everywhere. But I hope you’ll suspend cynicism for a moment and consider the word’s intended meaning, as described in Covey’s sixth habit, “Synergize”:

“Synergy works; it’s a correct principle. It is the crowning achievement of all the previous habits. It is effectiveness in an interdependent reality—it is teamwork, team building, the development of unity and creativity with other human beings.”

Jargon aside, there’s nothing more thrilling than the feeling that comes with belonging to a team that’s totally in sync, whether in sports, at work or at home. Together, we’re stronger, better, more creative and more productive. We understand and value our individual differences, strengths and perspectives and use them to create something greater and richer. We solve problems cooperatively by focusing on common goals. At our best, we find a third “win-win” alternative—a better solution than we could have ever obtained on our own. And when we just can’t agree, we compromise out of mutual respect, rather than become angry, defensive, manipulative or vindictive—the surest way to lose. Finally, we can weather the ups and downs in our relationship, having built enough trust and good in our emotional bank accounts with one another.

If you think this all sounds naïve or too good to be true, I assure you it’s not. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. It’s magical when it all clicks, and everything just flows—communication, ideas, insights and opportunities. You feel powerful and empowered—as if you could accomplish anything with the people to whom you’re emotionally and intellectually connected.

All the other habits have prepared us for the sixth habit of “synergy.” Habit 6 also teaches us that just as true effectiveness lies in our relationships—where creativity is the most potent—the power of the habits lies in their “synergistic” relationships to each other. We should use them together not only to expand our effectiveness, but also to open new possibilities in every aspect of our lives.

 – Vera

February 10, 2011

Bowling for Dollars and Smiles

At the beginning of every year, all Cydcor team members in North America get together to have our annual kickoff meeting. One of the highlights is what we do together make a difference in our community… and this time the world.

This year, Cydcor held a charity bowling event at the AMF Bowling Center in Woodland Hills to benefit Operation Smile. As an extra incentive, Cydcor  team members earned raffle tickets based on the amount they collected. The tickets went into drawings for experiences with key executives, such as wine-tasting or attending a Los Angeles Lakers game.

We had a blast and raised more than $3,440 for Operation Smile, a children’s medical charity that provides cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children worldwide.

By adding the bowl-a-thon donations to our fundraising efforts, we will help Operation Smile fulfill their goals, which include providing safe, effective reconstructive surgeries and helping dedicated medical volunteers provide these procedures to the children who need them.

We are just steps away, or shall we say strikes away, from hitting our $150,000 goal!

To see the full release, click here . Visit our smile page here.

February 8, 2011

The Tortoise Wins Super Bowl MVP

Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl MVP image:

Aaron Rodgers, the Super Bowl MVP, is an example of the tortoise beating the hare.  Rodgers was not recruited by any Division I universities.  He had to start his college career at an obscure junior college.  Cal was recruiting a tight end at that junior college when they happened to notice Rodgers.  They gave a scholarship to both players.  But Rodgers was not the reason why they made the recruiting visit. 

After a stellar career at Cal, experts predicted that Rodgers would be the first or second pick in the NFL draft.  Excruciatingly and humiliatingly, he was snubbed and dropped all the way down to the 24th pick.  For many of us who watched this on television, it was painful to see.

Rodgers was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and had to sit on the bench behind legend, Brett Favre.  Other young quarterbacks were getting more playing time and accolades.  Rodgers was patient, diligent and hard working.  He finally got his chance when Favre was traded and a few years later, he is a Super Bowl champion. 

He was not recruited out of high school, he was snubbed in the NFL draft, he had to wait patiently on the bench, but he finally got his chance and succeeded.  It is not how fast you start, but where you end up.  As Aesop fabled, “slow and steady wins the race.”

 – Gary

February 8, 2011

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

How many of us have had days where we can’t quite see eye to eye with anyone? A fight with our spouse or kids. A confrontation with the boss or a coworker. A business deal gone sour.

In my experience, it often boils down to communication or rather, poor communication. We talk at or over each other. Or if we can’t get a word in edgewise, we bide our time to interject our opinions and tit-for-tat responses. Or in anger and frustration, we say or do things we later regret and can’t take back.

But who really wins here? No one. As Habit 4 points out, adversarial conflict without a mutually beneficial resolution can quickly become a “lose-lose” proposition and a sure way to fail.

To reach “win-win” solutions in our interpersonal relations, we should look to Covey’s fifth habit: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Habit 5 teaches us how to listen with the intent to understand, not to listen with the intent to reply. Effective listening is not simply echoing what the other person has said through the lens of our own experiences. Rather, it’s listening sincerely with our ears, eyes and heart. It’s listening with empathy to understand the other person emotionally and intellectually. Only then can we seek to be understood.

Covey uses the Greek philosophy of ethos, pathos and logos to describe the sequence for effective communication at the heart of Habit 5:

  • Ethos: Establishing personal credibility, integrity and competency—character that inspires trust
  • Pathos: Listening with empathy; understanding others’ feelings and points of view
  • Logos: Explaining with logic and reason; considering all known facts and perceptions

Following this sequence allows us to present our ideas clearly, specifically, visually and in the context of the other person’s perspective and concerns. And in doing so, we significantly increase not only the credibility of our ideas, but also their positive influence and impact.

– Jim

February 1, 2011

Habit 4: Think Win-Win


In business and in life, we talk a lot about winning in the context of competition or contests—of beating others to show we’re better at something. Winning means that someone else loses. It’s a “zero sum game.”

While a “win-lose” proposition has its time and place, I’ve found that most situations require a different approach. I recall something Coach John Wooden, a great man and influence in my life, once said: “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.”

Sure, winning can prove that we’re good or even the best at what we do. But to win in a meaningful and lasting way, we need to have character. For me, this means finding “win-win” opportunities that rely on cooperation and collaboration, rather than on competition and contests.

Covey’s fourth habit tells us just this—to “think win-win” by seeking mutual benefit from our interactions. While the first three habits are about mastering the “private victory” of independence, Habit 4 moves us into the realm of “public victories” or interdependence. It’s about developing effective interpersonal leadership, which is fundamental to all successful relationships.

Covey, like Coach Wooden, says that character is the foundation of winning. People and organizations with a “win-win” attitude have three key traits:

  •  Integrity: Sticking with their true feelings, values and commitments
  •  Maturity: Expressing their ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for others’ ideas and feelings
  •  Abundance mentality: Believing there’s plenty for everyone

By practicing Habit 4, we can be true winners who work cooperatively with others to achieve mutual solutions, satisfaction and success. In situations where we can’t achieve a “win-win,” we must have the integrity, maturity and conviction—the character—to walk away agreeably without burning bridges. “Win-win” or no deals, rather than “win-lose” or “lose-lose” deals, are the best ways to be effective in our lives, work and most valued relationships.

 – Gary