Cultivate leadership that’s driven by mission. CocoVinny Zaldivar, CEO and founder of Coco Taps, illuminates why successful leaders are well-versed in compassion, risk-taking, and emotional intelligence. CocoVinny shares what good qualities he’s seen at play in leadership, practices to avoid, and how EOS® has helped him and his team stay in tune.
CocoVinny has been an entrepreneur for years. Having started and run multiple businesses, he’s no stranger to success. But little did he know that when he snapped his step-dad’s prize knife while attempting to break into a coconut, he was really breaking into his best business venture yet: the coconut drill.
That was back in 2013. Today, CocoVinny and his team are the inventors of the first ever completely American-made, non-plastic, and biodegradable coconut drill. Zero-waste certified, Coco Taps prides itself on providing the key to fresh coconut water in a sustainable and responsible way.
Stay In-Tune With Your Team
CocoVinny says mission is key to business success, and the strong leaders he has observed all demonstrate vision and drive. Other qualities he has witnessed over the years that he aims to embody include:
- Emotional intelligence
- Listening well
- Leading by example
- Generous with resources and sharing of life experiences
It’s important for leaders to learn how to be different from others while also being in tune with others’ thoughts, emotions, and points of view. CocoVinny says that striving to be on the same page as his team wasn’t something that came naturally — he learned it by making mistakes.
[11:18] “That’s the thing that makes a great leader . . . [the ability to] feel everything and not just totally blow everything over.”
CocoVinny advocates for balancing the desire to run a great business with being human.
[12:04] “I’ll miss a quarterly number if [reaching it] is going to cause two or three of my people to get burned out and quit.”
CocoVinny calls out leaders who treat others poorly and don’t care about their work. He says to avoid people who believe that they don’t win unless the other person loses — and certainly avoid becoming that kind of person.
Before founding Coco Taps, CocoVinny founded and ran a booming internet gaming company. However, he says everything else in his life was in shambles. He knew he had to hire a CEO and take a step back. So, that’s what he did.
He came away from that experience with clarity: He knew he wanted to sell a product that added great value to people’s lives and that didn’t waste their time. He knew he wanted to lead with mission.
Today, CocoVinny experiences peace and confidence in his work because it’s founded in his beliefs and a desire to serve others. He believes in his work so much he even legally changed his name to “CocoVinny” to further embody it.
He adds that maintaining peace and confidence, however, hasn’t been easy in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic and social unrest. As a minority himself and with a workforce of about 80% minority employees, CocoVinny says that he knew he needed to stay true to his beliefs in his leadership role. He knew this was important, even if it meant some potential customers may be put off.
The lesson: you want to do business with people who appreciate you and your beliefs as they are. Don’t be afraid to stand by your values.
Two Ears, One Mouth
CocoVinny stresses to young leaders — especially those who maybe feel stuck or don’t know how to begin their journey — to just make a move. Set a target and fire. You don’t have to have all the answers up front.
[29:00] “If you’re going to lead any team, even a team of one . . . you gotta be prepared with thick skin, positive attitude, and short term memory.”
There is no secret sauce to great leadership. But there are steps you can take to get there. It all starts with taking that first step.
[29:26] “Also learn how to listen. Two ears, one mouth. That rule should apply in everything you do.”