Month: February 2015

February 27, 2015

Cydcor’s Continues Operation Smile Partnership


Cydcor is excited to announce our continued relationship with Operation Smile. Operation Smile and Cydcor plan to fund two additional medical  missions, providing free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children in need around the globe.

Cydcor’s relationship with Operation Smile began in 2010, and together we have helped heal nearly 2,100 smiles through fundraisers, donations, and our Week of Smiles fundraiser, to help fund charity medical missions to Guatemala, Mexico and Brazil. Through the dedication and compassion of teams across the nation, Cydcor has raised more than $500,000 to heal the smiles of children in need and help fund missions globally. We simply can’t do it without the support and dedication of our Cydcor employees and the many independently owned sales offices across the U.S.

“We are so proud to have funded three medical missions for Operation Smile, and we are on our way to funding a fourth and fifth,” said Cydcor Chief Operating Officer Vera Quinn. “We are honored to be able to support Operation Smile in such a way that we can help make such a difference for so many families around the globe.”

At Cydcor’s annual Keys to Success 2015 in Dallas, Texas Operation Smile founders Dr. William P. Magee, Jr., and his wife Kathleen S. Magee were guest speakers where we celebrated the hard working teams across the country. Speaking to an audience of 800, the Magees spoke on the importance of charity and dedication.

To help support Cydcor’s fundraising efforts, visit For more information on Operation Smile’s global efforts, visit, and follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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About Operation Smile
Operation Smile, headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is an international medical charity with a presence in more than 60 countries, whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from more than 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To build long-term sufficiency in resource poor environments, Operation Smile trains doctors and local medical professionals in its partner countries so they are empowered to treat their local communities. Operation Smile also donates medical equipment, supplies and provides year-round medical treatment through its worldwide centers.


February 27, 2015

Cydcor Reviews ‘For Better or For Work’

The following is a review by a Cydcor employee of For Better or For Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families by Meg Cadoux Hirshberg.

About For Better or For Work:

This book is a remarkable guide to navigating the perfect balance of entrepreneurial business building, while still being able to enjoy a happy life at home. Hirshberg continually reminds readers that this is no easy feat, and will require great amounts of effort. Very few people have mastered running a business successfully with a balanced personal life, but the tips found in this book can get any person on the right track. For Better or For Work is a reminder that a balancing both lives is possible, using small successes that can be simple to find.

Why Cydcor recommends this to future leaders:

Entrepreneurship can be a stressful career choice. Late nights, extravagant scheming, and taking chances are all aspects of being a great entrepreneur. This book gives practical advice on building your support system together to maximize motivation and determination. Family and friends can sometimes take a back seat to an entrepreneur when they’re focused. For Better or For Work is a wake up call for any entrepreneur to spend their time more wisely, and be able to have the personal relationships they’re looking for. Any aspiring leader can find beneficial advice in this book.

Our favorite part:

Meeting challenges are difficult for all relationships, personal or professional. Hirshberg outlines useful tips on how to handle things when they get tough, like when a startup fails or a company owner resigns due to a serious illness. There are plenty of books and articles to help an entrepreneur and their company exceed; this book instead focuses on succeeding with interpersonal relationships, while still balancing the hectic life of an entrepreneur.

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February 26, 2015

Cydcor’s Guide on Communicating More Clearly

Flickr CC via The Open University (OU)

Having clear and excellent communication skills is crucial for any business professional. A person must be able to articulate exactly what they mean if they want work to get done correctly. You may think you have a genius idea, but if you can’t articulate it well, it will be difficult for your team to jump aboard. Communicating clearly can make all facets of business a little easier. Here are a few tips to regularly communicate more concisely:

Brainstorm the Idea

Try to avoid expressing an idea to others too soon after inception. Flesh out the idea fully to ensure it makes sense and is understandable for others. By putting in extra effort to think of all the different possibilities, you can avoid presenting an idea that just doesn’t work. Think about it for a bit, and if it still makes sense, move forward!

Write It Out

Write down the idea and read aloud it yourself. This will create a visual and auditory representation of what you’re trying to communicate. If it sounds right and makes sense, you’re on the right path. If it doesn’t, you may have to go back to the drawing board.


Need a little assurance before communicating to your team? Present the idea to someone you trust, such as a co-worker or friend. They can give you another layer of feedback, and bring whatever you’re trying to say to the next level.

Simplify the Message

It’s not a good idea to start rambling when it comes to communicating. If it’s too confusing, many people may tune out and miss out on what you’re trying to get across. Simplifying the message can ensure that people get the most important pieces of information first. After you’ve formed a simplified message and can finally introduce it to others, be sure to….

…Ask if People Need Clarification

There have been countless times when I’ve assumed I understood a request, only to find out later that I didn’t fully comprehend what I needed to do. Be sure to ask if what you’ve just described is clear to everybody. It can add another layer of understand for some, as well as fill in someone who may not have been listening as attentively as they should have been. It also guarantees that what you’ve said is made crystal clear.

Communicating more clearly is something that all business-oriented individuals struggle with. It doesn’t have to be impossible. Just keep in mind that clear communicators make sure their ideas are fleshed out and will make sense to as many people as possible—the first time they explain it.

February 20, 2015

Life Hacks for Right-Brain Thinkers

Flickr CC via PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE

Cydcor recently wrote on Life Hacks for Left-Brain Thinkers, but what about those of us who identify as “right-brain” thinkers? People who excel in creative arts, love to experiment and tinker and learn better when things are explained visually are considered “right-brain” dominant. However, along with these positive attributes, right brain dominant individual are often thought to be easily distracted and unorganized.

Being a visual-spatial learner means your brain learns best through visual clues and observation. Long, complicated mathematical problems or block-text can often cause right-brained individuals to tune out.

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Right-brain dominant people often like to work in groups, but it’s also good to give your left brain some exercise as well. To do so, encourage yourself to work alone whenever possible. While team tasks can be great creative opportunities, it’s also important to learn how to be able to tap into your left-brain by giving yourself some quiet space to focus on the task at hand.

Visual-spatial learners don’t do well under pressure. Give yourself as much time as possible to finish a project, and avoid procrastination by scheduling this time and ensuring ample opportunity to get things done without time pressure setting in.

Encourage yourself to draw webs and links while taking down notes, rather than writing things in a more linear fashion. Draw pictures if it helps illustrate a point—even something as a simple doodle can reinforce the information.

Managers can assist right-brain thinker by showing the whole picture for facts that need to be memorized, versus just handing out a document for them to read and memorize. Visual supports such as pictures and maps help with ideas and facts. In addition to providing information verbally, use colors, charts and other visual aids to help them commit information you need to know by memory.

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February 19, 2015

Cydcor Reviews ‘Taking People With You’

The following is a review by a Cydcor employee of Taking People With You by David Novak:

About Taking People With You:

How to build an inspired and productive team of people is what this book is all about. David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands learned long ago that you couldn’t lead a great organization of any size without getting people enthusiastic and focused on the mission and success of the company they work for. Novak has proved himself a capable CEO and leader, and he’s also willing to share that information and knowledge with others. He knows that doing this does not create more competition, but rather spreads prosperity and abundance to more people.

Novak has developed a trademarked program, which centers on setting big goals, getting those around you to work together, exceeding your goals, and celebrating the big and small victories. Novak teaches this program around the world, and now he offers it in this book, Taking People With You.

Why Cydcor recommends this to future leaders:

This book is specifically written to speak directly to CEOs, managers, supervisors, and all those in a position of influence over others. Novak speaks to a leader’s prime qualities, their personal nature, and their means of connecting with others—for the human connection is a crucial element of finding success. Management books normally call for business analysis; Novak asks you to conduct a critical self-analysis.

Our favorite part:

The instructional structure of this book outlines setting goals, getting to know yourself, planning and following through. Novak is a great writer in his no-nonsense approach to telling you how to be a thoughtful leader. From Mr. Novak’s teachings, great and useful information can be extracted, whether you are a one-person show, a medium-sized firm, or a major international conglomerate.

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February 17, 2015

Life Hacks for Left-Brain Thinkers

Flickr CC via grapefruitmoon

Those who identify as “left-brain” thinkers tend to be more on the analytic and logical side of the spectrum of thought. Law, finance, engineering and the sciences are some of the many industries that those analytical types tend to fall into. But in an age of innovation, those more systematic thinkers might need a kick-start for creativity to keep up. While there are distinct verbal and analytic styles of thinking associated with different hemispheres of the brain, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t able to delve into more creative areas.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the population believes left-brain thinkers struggle with creativity or aren’t able to generate new ideas. While one might become set in a pattern, it is still possible to break out of this limited method of thinking.

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Author Daniel Coyle’s book The Talent Code describes in detail what physically happens to the brain when someone develops a new skill. In order to properly build up your brain to receive and keep new thought processes, knowledge and skills, Coyle calls for a need of what he names deep practice, which is exactly what it sounds like: practice. Learning and performing a new action involves firing an electrical signal through a neural pathway. Every time this happens, it thickens the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers. The thicker the myelin sheath around the neural pathway, the more easily and effectively we use it.

What are ways we can “hack” our right-side brain and begin to let it out of the box? Some tips to start thinking creatively are simple:

Sign your name in the way you’ve developed, then re-sign it—backwards. Just the mere motion of attempting to break out of what you would normally do fires the right brain hemisphere. Try signing your name in different writing styles. Upside down. In a spiral. In loops. Repeat this until you are able to sign in all different designs and directions.

The right hemisphere aids in your ability to move in an unfamiliar way—such as dance. Just as we must take steps to learn new moves—a yoga position, a straighter posture, or running style—our brains must use a similar process to learn how to think differently.


Begin the art of deep practice by conquering any unaccustomed task, attempting challenges and feeding stray information into your right brain’s database. Before you know it, you will see new ideas begin to emerge.

February 13, 2015

Cydcor Reviews ‘Power Listening’

Here is Cydcor’s review of ‘Power Listening’ by Bernard Ferrari!

About Power Listening:

Nothing causes bad decisions in organizations as often as poor listening skills. But Bernard Ferrari, adviser to some of the nation’s most influential executives, believes that such missteps can be avoided and that the skills and habits of good listening can be developed and mastered. He offers a step-by-step process that will help readers become active listeners that are able to shape and focus any conversation.

Why Cydcor recommends this book to future leaders:

Ferrari claims that in a business setting, good listening is a critically important (albeit strenuous) activity and that one that must be purposeful, under control, and in possession of total focus and engagement.

The author focuses on how to avoid the common pitfalls in conversation, and explains how to correct them if they occur. To actively and empathetically listen is critical in any important interpersonal situation, social or professional.

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Our favorite part:

One of the best parts of this book, and its greatest value, lies in how skillfully Ferrari poses clusters of questions to accomplish two separate but interdependent and immensely important purposes: To sharpen the inquiry skills of his reader (i.e. how to learn what needs to be known) and to provide a context within which his reader can apply those skills.

For example, Ferrari explains that, whenever possible, he avoids interrupting another person unless it is absolutely necessary. And when he does interrupt, “any interruptions or responses I make as questions. If I disagree with a statement, I’ll package my disagreement in a probing question.” In advance of discussion of key issues, he formulates a few questions that he may need “to guide the conversation into areas that will be more useful for me and [conversation partner].”

February 9, 2015

Top Success Quotes—and What They Mean For You

Flickr CC via cityyear

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

-Ray Kroc, businessman

Money is not the be-all and end-all of success. First, love what you are doing and take full gratification in pledging yourself entirely to your work and the needs of your client or business. This outlook on your work can transform the level of success and happiness you achieve throughout your life.

“The secret to productive goal setting is in establishing clearly defined goals, writing them down and then focusing on them several times a day with words, pictures and emotions as if we’ve already achieved them.”

-Denis Waitley, author and motivational speaker

Creating a clear plan is key. Start by envisioning yourself experiencing success every day of your life. You are more likely to commit to keeping promises and staying on your goal path by visually focusing on them daily.

“It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute… that gives meaning to our lives.”

-Tony Robbins, life coach

A large part of being successful means remembering others in your lives and how each person helped you get where you are today. True happiness and self-satisfaction is not measured by material wealth or possessions. Rather, it is the way you influence others and how you developed your character that makes life significant.

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

-Helen Keller, author

Why do some things happen one way while other things happen differently? In order to fully understand why events occur the way they do, you must experience them first hand. Never just take someone else’s word for it; go out and live life to the fullest.

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February 6, 2015

My Cydcor and Operation Smile Experience – Darlene Mitchell

Darlene-Cydcor-Operation-SmileIn November 2014, Cydcor sent a group of representatives on a medical mission trip to Guatemala for Operation Smile.  Our own Darlene Mitchell, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Technology at Cydcor, wrote the following about her time in Guatemala:

It was thrilling to join such an outstanding group on the Operation Smile medical mission to Guatemala. Though I was unsure what to expect, I knew we would touch the lives of others and, in turn, be forever changed by the experience. We were fortunate to experience several aspects of the mission: registration day, child life/prep, surgery, recovery, pre- and post-op, and medical records processing. I enjoyed learning about and contributing to each aspect of the entire process.

Registration day was filled with beautiful souls and families anxious for help. The extended Cydcor and field team had fun connecting with families, playing with the children, and attempting to put the families at ease. With stickers, jump ropes, and balls everywhere, the children were in good spirits. The poverty of some was difficult to comprehend; while some children arrived in their Sunday best, others clearly had not bathed for some time. For example, I heard one young mother had a headache on surgery day so she went around asking for change to purchase some medicine. She asked the nurses if she could change the hospital beds to earn money for aspirin, and when the nurse offered her several aspirin free of charge, the young mother burst into happy tears at the gift.

On one of the days, I spent several hours playing with a group of toddlers – Gladys, Genesis, and William – in the Child Life area where we helped calm the children and parents before surgery. The children warmed up to me quickly, and after their surgeries I was fortunate to be in the recovery room ready to comfort the children, who often wake up scared. Gladys was the first one back from surgery. As she woke up, the doctor was holding her as she asked for her mom. When she saw me there, she reached out her arms for me and the doctor let me step in to receive her sweet hug. I talked to her and comforted her until she was stable enough for her mom to come in. Nothing warms the heart like a child’s embrace.

Next to return from surgery was Genesis. The nurses let me hold and rock Genesis for some time, and as long as I was singing and rocking her, she was calm. I felt honored that she recognized my voice enough to be calmed by it until it was time to hand her over to her mother. Genesis’s mom was so happy to see me with her daughter and so thankful for the work of the doctors and nurses of Operation Smile. She thanked everyone profusely as she held Genesis and left recovery for post-op. I am so grateful to have met these wonderful families and, in some small way, make a difference. The children will forget the surgery and everything they went through, but I will always remember them.

Darlene plays with the children after surgery.

Given the chance to observe several surgeries, I found myself fascinated with the process as the surgeons worked their magic and changed these children’s lives forever. The Cydcor team helped wherever needed, from decorating and updating patient files to making connections like the ones I made. The professionalism and passion of all the volunteers and Operation Smile teams impressed me. As I spoke with the Cydcor team at the end of our journey, we all shared an even deeper passion for the cause and vowed to increase our efforts to raise money for this wonderful organization.

For additional information about Cydcor’s partnership with Operation Smile, head over to

February 5, 2015

Cydcor Reviews ‘How Will You Measure Your Life?’

The following is a review by a Cydcor employee of How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen!

About How Will You Measure Your Life?

From the world’s leading thinker on innovation and New York Times bestselling author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen, comes an unconventional book of inspiration and wisdom for achieving a fulfilling life.

Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma, notably the only business book that Apple’s Steve Jobs said “deeply influenced” him, is widely recognized as one of the most significant business books ever published. Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life is with a book of lucid observations and penetrating insights designed to help any reader—student or teacher, mid-career professional or retiree, parent or child—forge their own paths to fulfillment.

Why Cydcor recommends this book to future leaders: Christensen is known as a deep thinker, as well as a thoughtful writer, and his traits of deep integrity, thought and consideration comes through How Will You Measure Your Life. His main aim is to find the purpose and happiness in your life, which any individual can relate to. He examines how businesses thrive and fail and can also be resurrected, as an example of life lessons for personal lives.

Our favorite part:

Christensen offers three keys to success:

  1. Believe in basic goodness
  2. Have an eternal quest for truth
  3. Persistence

Whether you are looking for happiness in work, family or relationships, Christensen speaks to where challenges, not rewards, offer greater pleasure in our lives. Work, recognition and responsibility tends to increase our satisfaction in a job position, and while ‘rewards’ such as benefits, vacation and money merely reduce dissatisfactions.

This book is not a “self-help” book, but a book for people wanting to think about how to help themselves, and Christensen provides excellent resources and tools to become the best you can be.

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