Month: May 2011

May 30, 2011

“The Brady 6”: A Story of Determination, Dedication and Drive


My wife and daughter recently watched the ESPN special, The Brady 6, about the events leading up to and after the selection of Tom Brady in 2000 as the New England Patriot’s seventh quarterback. I was somewhat surprised that they would watch a one-hour football show but then realized it told an inspiring story that could appeal to everyone. I highly recommend this documentary, which chronicles Brady’s rise to the top from humble beginnings—the story of someone who became great through sweat and determination, rather than through sheer talent.

Brady was the 199th draft pick during his senior year. With six quarterbacks picked ahead of him, he was drafted in the sixth round. He had been overlooked because physically, he had the worst combine (an athletic workout) of any quarterback likely in history. He was slow and did not jump very high. Additionally, he did not have the greatest arm and could not throw a tight spiral. In his senior year at the University of Michigan, Brady split the starting quarterback role with a newcomer, and NFL teams questioned why he lost the starting position.

As you watch the documentary, you learn that Brady outworked and out-prepared the other quarterbacks drafted that year. Except for maybe Payton Manning, he probably continues to outwork and out-prepare all NFL quarterbacks. Today, Brady holds numerous regular season and postseason records and is one of two players in NFL history with multiple NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards. He is now widely viewed as one of the best NFL draft picks of all time.

Tom Brady’s story shows us that hard work and preparation, more so than natural gifts, are crucial to success. He overcame the odds and excelled at something he was truly passionate about. Rather than expecting greatness to be bestowed upon him, Brady earned it through determination, dedication and drive—a lesson from which we can all learn.

May 26, 2011

Character of a Leader

I recently spoke with someone who just opened his business but has lost his confidence. He feels that his people do not respect him because of mistakes he has made and because he no longer believes in himself. He asked me:

  • “Have you ever been in a situation in which you’ve lost all confidence and question whether you’re doing the right thing?”
  • “Have you been in a situation in which your people don’t look up to you anymore? If so, how did you get back their respect?”
  • “How did you get back your confidence?”

I, too, have experienced doubt and difficulty, as has every successful entrepreneur. All of us have had times in our careers when we have questioned our abilities and lost our confidence. These moments that test us, however, can strengthen our character and ability to lead, if we do not let them defeat us.

Experience has taught me the following lessons to weather adversity and emerge a more effective and inspiring leader:

  • Lead from the front. Show by your intensity and example how to get results. Your WILL will be contagious, and your people will follow.
  • Follow through on your commitments. Demonstrate integrity by doing what you say you are going to do and by excelling at it.
  • Plan and prepare. Spend the weekend organizing the week so that you have more time to lead from the front.
  • Be optimistic and enthusiastic—always. Take your cue from Gene Kelly’s character in the film, Singin’ in the Rain, when he says during the famous rain sequence: “From where I stand, the sun is shining all over the place.” Bring your own sunshine to the day, even if it is pouring outside.
  • Be bold in every venture. Think of the advice the goddess Athens gives Odysseus in the Homer epic, The Odyssey: “You go on inside. Be bold, nothing to fear. In every venture the bold man comes off best…” Never let fear overcome your resolve to achieve your goals and win.
  • Be responsible and accountable. Accept responsibility for a situation and accountability for the result or outcome—good or bad. When you make mistakes, be clear on what you will do to fix them, and then do it.

May 26, 2011

Cydcor’s Casino Night Raises Money for Operation Smile

One step closer to $150,000 goal!

It was a night filled with excitement, energy, and competition as more than 50 Cydcor team members, families, and friends participated in a “Casino Night” to raise money for Operation Smile. During the event, they enjoyed a poker and blackjack tournament, costume contest, and raffle prizes.

Cydcor team members have been raising funds for Operation Smile over the past several months with an overall goal of raising $150,000 to fund a medical mission to remote locations in Peru, Cambodia, or Rwanda. Operation Smile is a children’s charity that provides free cleft lip and cleft palate reconstructive surgeries worldwide.

Special thanks to the vendors and organizations that donated products and services to the raffle winners! They included:

  • Teeth Whitening:  Dr. Craig N. Shore, DDS in Agoura Hills, CA
  • Two month membership: Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA
  • $500 gift card to American Airlines: Vera Quinn, Cydcor’s senior vice president of sales operations
  • Dodger Tickets: Gary Polson, CEO of Cydcor
  • Tennis Racket: Jane Forman Tennis Academy in Miami, FL
  • Drum Kit: Drum Workshop in Oxnard, CA
  • $200 gift certificate: Farfalla Trattoria Westlake in Westlake Village, CA
  • $50 gift card and gift basket: J. Girl in Westlake Village, CA
  • $25 gift certificate: Miami Tan in Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Gift Certificate: Buca di Beppo in Thousand Oaks, CA
  • $120 gift certificate and gifts: Canyon Salon in Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Lighting for the casino night event: Buster Lighting in Camarillo, CA

It was a winning night for Operation Smile, Cydcor, and all the attendees.

May 19, 2011

Leadership Fundamentals

When things are not going as well as we have planned, we should remember what Jack Welch said in his book, Winning: “Whatever you will accomplish is restricted by your ability to lead others.” We measure our success by the effectiveness of our leadership, which takes hard work and skillful practice of the fundamentals.

Exude the right energy; teams take their cue from you.
Your team feeds off your energy, so demonstrate confidence, enthusiasm, passion and vision in everything you do. Uphold clear standards and expectations while providing knowledge, coaching and guidance.

Build a strong relationship with your team.
Determine how well you are connecting with your team. Do people feel that you care about them and have their backs? Do they feel their lives are better by being on your team? Are they engaged and motivated?

Be tough and consistent.
At times, you need to be tough in a relationship. Firmly holding people accountable to a high but achievable standard drives them to succeed. Teams lose confidence in leaders who appear inconsistent and allow them to become stagnant.

Lead by example.
Your example and intensity sets the bar for the team. Your character, integrity and follow-through create trust and bind the team together.

May 18, 2011

We Got the Spirit

Congratulations to Team Cydcor, this year’s proud winner of the Corporate Games’ Division C JD Probasco Spirit Award! The award honors one company in each division that displayed a high level of team spirit and commitment to community service.

Joel Daniels, a quality assurance manager at Cydcor, said it best when he was quoted in a recent Ventura County Star article on the close of the games: “We feel great. This is a big deal for us.”

This latest achievement is fitting conclusion to Cydcor’s impressive performance during the 2011 Corporate Games. Among the medals that Cydcor team members brought home were the gold in indoor volleyball and table tennis (individual competition); the silver in basketball, table tennis (doubles competition) and football; and the bronze in bowling.

Way to go, team!

Click here to read more about the final results of the 22nd annual Ventura Corporate Games.

May 12, 2011

Skills for Success

When I entered the workforce, I sought experiences that would teach me vital skills for the future and build my confidence. Although many of my peers wanted to find jobs at companies that would carry them to retirement, I wanted to rely on myself and become a successful entrepreneur.

During the first ten years of my career, I focused on honing the skills that would make me a successful business owner. Ultimately, I learned that I needed to excel at two things: sales and relationships.

In the beginning stages of a business, the owner is usually the number-one sales person, as I was during the first five years of my commercial printing business and during all three years of my financial recruiting business. Successful entrepreneurs are savvy sales people who understand their customers’ needs and offer the most effective, compelling solutions to meet them.

Good sales people also have good people skills. Unless you want to be the only person in your business, you need to be able to work cooperatively with others and build strong relationships based on trust and respect. The more people you can successfully recruit, develop, manage and lead, the more you can accomplish and the more economic value you can generate.

The most important lesson I have learned in my career is this: Choose work experiences not for their prestige or short-term gain, but rather for their ability to equip you with the skills for success and the opportunities to practice them.