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Episode 60

Episode 60: Credibility and Core Values: the Journey from Marine to Millionaire with Rudy Cazares


In this episode of the Veteran Led Podcast, John is joined by former Marine Officer Rudy Cazares. Rudy shares how his background as a Marine helped shape his current success and how the principles carried over into the business world. From decisive actions and learning from mistakes to utilizing the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) and networking within the veteran community, Rudy’s story is a testament to the power of determination and seizing opportunities. Having guided multi-million-dollar businesses under his belt, his leadership style emphasizes continuous improvement, teamwork, and core values – offering invaluable insights for veterans looking to make their mark in the business world.


Rudy Cazares: You gotta make a decision on what you’re going to do. And you can’t be. You know, it’s not a paralysis by analysis. 80% solution. Make a decision. Right. For us, it’s like, make a decision, Marine, what are you going to do? And then you act on it, okay? And don’t be apologetic about the mistakes that you’ve made or, you know, be apologetic about the mistakes you’ve made, but you’re going to make them right. And so just get used to it. So as long as you can do that faster than your competition, then the enemy, I mean, you’re just going to last.

John Berry: Welcome to the veteran led podcast, where we talk with leaders who use their military experiences to develop great organizations and continue to serve their communities. So Rudy and I met at CEO Circle in New York City. JPMorgan Chase and Bunker Labs puts on this great program where fellow veteran CEOs get together. We get to share information and really learn from each other. And the thing that fascinated me about Rudy was that not only does he own three other companies, but he also is an implementer for EOS. So let’s just start with that. Rudy, what is EOS?

Rudy Cazares: Yeah, Entrepreneur Operating System is, uh, you know, based on something we call the vision Traction Healthy. It’s helping small businesses, uh, recognize their vision, get gain traction on that vision, and then, uh, create healthy and functional, cohesive teams. And, uh, my EOS journey started when I was on a leadership team back in 2018. And, uh, I realized that every company, just like every, you know, military unit, needs to have a basis of a fundamentals to work on. And, uh, EOS serves as a framework that’s helped me not only succeed in that in that company, but also apply it to my existing businesses to be able to scale and grow them to where they are today.

John Berry: Right. And here’s the thing. Rudy has multi-million dollar businesses, so not just one business worth a few million or several, but he has several, several businesses that have crossed the seven figure barrier. And what I what I love about talking with Rudy is that he has actually done it. And when I started with EOS, I think it was 2017. We hired an implementer to show us how to use this system because we had systems all over the place and we did. We needed one operating system. And I looked at Verne Harnish’s, uh, scaling up and a couple of the other Rockefeller Habits systems. But EOS was the simplest. And if you come from the military Army guy like me, a Marine like you especially, right. Hey, simple is better. What did we say? KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. So? So, using the KISS principle, I decided we were going to implement it. The problem was, we hired an implementer who had less business experience than me. And so it was very difficult to really get a lot of value out of that. Um, in the beginning. Now, once we started using the system, we got really good at using it. We got disciplined and we and we figured it out. But what I really like about what you do, Rudy, is you’re taking real lessons that you learned to help companies grow. And I want to get into the lessons that you’ve learned because once again, as an infantry guy going logistics, I hated it. But you chose after the military, after being an infantry officer, a major, getting out your major field grade officer, you get out, you decide to go into logistics. Tell us about that journey.

Rudy Cazares: Yeah, I guess it wasn’t as, uh, linear as I would have thought. I think everybody has a plan. Um, and, you know, like Mike Tyson, you know, everybody’s got a plan until you get punched in the face. And, uh, my plan getting out was, uh, you know, I was going to start my family. I’d been a Marine at that point for the past 11 years. And, uh, my wife, my beautiful wife, had been extremely supportive. Uh, you talk about the unsung heroes. Those are military spouses, uh, wives of veterans. And, uh, you know, I honestly had to make a decision, which is give up my passion in leading Marines to make my full time focus, which is my family. And so, um, again, not as linear, you know, I, I got my MBA in the school of hard knocks and, uh, spent some time in corporate about six years, and I would say five years too many. Uh, then I got into the private sector, and so I immediately got into the route business, mainly because there was a need for it. Um. Ground, ground officers, individuals that come out of, you know, working in very decentralized type of environments do very well in managing those kind of individuals, those kind of technicians, types of drivers where you understand that they’re going to be on the receiving end of a bunch of stuff, and you just got to make it simple.

Rudy Cazares: You got to make it known that you’re going to be there for them when they start their day, their end, the end, their day. And so, um, you know, it was just a natural fit. And so I continued pursuing that passion until I realized, like, hey, look through EOS and through some very inspirational leaders, I realized I could do it on my own and not just in in any market, but in New York City. And so it just happened to be that I took that leap of faith. As I mentioned to you before, John, look, I had about one year’s worth of savings in the bank where I knew that either I made it or I would go have to find some, some other job, uh, to make up for that. And so, uh, fortunately, I did just that. And so logistics, it just happened to blend. Well, you’re making decisions on the move. You’re leading a bunch of people. You have vehicle assets on the road. You’re always making decisions, uh, on your feet. And it’s about systematizing. And so that that really helped me, uh, be successful in this particular field.

John Berry: Well, and you were a company at one point. You had company command in the Marine Corps, which is important because right now you have over 100 employees, over 70 vehicles on the road. And, yeah, in New York City. Right. This is not easy. And there are a lot of contingencies you got to plan through. So as you set this up and begin to work through the logistics of what was the training or mentorship that you got that helped you get to where you were, where Covid hits, and now you’re working with FedEx, Amazon and the big companies that are taking care of our logistical needs throughout the country. How did you get that connection? How did you get that business?

Rudy Cazares: Yeah. So, um, you know, when you get out, you know, I mean, at least for me, I stayed connected. I stayed connected with former Marines. Marines that were still, uh, you know, working through maybe a year or two ahead of me, uh, always asking questions. I was fortunate enough when I got out, uh, I stayed in the reserves for a couple more years. I became a Marine For Life rep. I was helping Marines transition out of the Marine Corps and settled in at the time in Texas. Uh, I was living in San Antonio, so I was a Marine For Life rep in San Antonio and Houston. And, uh, as a result, I had, you know, I was able to engage and stay connected with Marines, like, all the time. And so as a result of that, I was able to meet, uh, former Marine lieutenant colonel that was working on the business development team for Amazon. Uh, he gave a speech to a bunch of us in Quantico talking about this Amazon DSP program. I think this was back in 2016. And, you know, some people were just like, well, maybe too new for us. And, uh, you know, and it kind of and it was a couple of years went by and I, I tried to figure out what I was going to do next. And this Amazon DSP, I ran into a former Marine on the street while I was walking my dog, and he tells me what he’s doing. He’s about to start his DSP within the next 30 days. And I was like, well, if he’s going to do it, let me just go ahead and do it. And so, um, and that’s what happened. You know, it’s about making those connections, staying connected to opportunities. The same thing happened with my with my FedEx business, uh, through a, through a through a Marine, I was able to meet a guy that was looking to sell his routes, and I happened to be in a position to acquire them. And so staying connected, I think was, uh, was key for me.

John Berry: One of the things that I wanted to ask you about, you know, when I was an infantry officer and then I was told, okay, you’re going to go logistics. And so I got a lot of that logistics training for free from the military. But you didn’t start that logistics training until after you got out, is that right?

Rudy Cazares: Yeah, 100%. Um, like I mentioned before, the school of hard knocks and, uh, you know, being in the corporate world, I mean, there’s very, very little room for excuses. You’ve got to be able to deliver on those results. Uh, as you know, publicly traded companies report on a quarterly basis. That means you were reporting on a weekly basis. And the moment that your numbers are off, uh, you’ve got to be able to make up for them. And so that’s where your leadership style and, uh, all the things that you have in your toolkit come into effect, because in the end, it’s about the numbers. And that’s what the corporate world was. Uh, obviously that wasn’t who I was. Uh, but I learned very early on that you have to be able to deliver on results. And I’ve been able to carry at the very, at the very least, carry through on, on, on delivering results in my existing businesses. But being able to put the leadership piece to it, which is, I think, what’s missing in, uh, in the corporate world.

John Berry: Well, as you said, you know, it’s about results. What are you doing to ensure that your team members know day to day, week to week that they’re successful?

Rudy Cazares: If I’ve got a driver that tells me, hey, I think I’m number one. Well, let’s take a look at the roster. Right. Let’s go ahead and stack rank. You know, numbers, uh, number one driver all the way to number 100. And if you’re in the top three or top five, well very simple. Today I had a conversation with one of my drivers, when do I become day of the month? And I said, let’s break open the six week trailing report. Where are you? And he’s like, I’m number two. I’m like, well, you’re one spot away from being number one. And so, uh, we have the data to be able to provide those drivers. We report on it, we communicate it, we incentivize to it. Uh, you know, we obviously hold people accountable to it if they’re not hitting those numbers. Um, so, um, I mean, that’s all just part of the DNA of running a successful route business. Your drivers, your technicians, they need to know where they stand, because if not in their mind, they’re going to think they’re great. And maybe they’re almost, you know, maybe one away from being great or the best. Um, and they just need to know that they need to know. What to do better to improve that a little bit more. If you’re bottom of the barrel, chances are they’re missing mark on a lot of things. And it’s our responsibility as leaders to communicate that. And the frequency of that communication can be daily or can be weekly. But the scorecard does matter.

John Berry: Absolutely. And I think one of the challenges with the scorecard, when people are not hitting the metrics, they almost become blind to it. And I had somebody that was at the bottom, you know, of when we rack them and stack them there at the bottom, they’re like, well, I thought I was doing really well. Well, you got your scorecard every week and I’m binary. It’s either a it’s either green you hit the goal or red. I don’t do this. I don’t do this. You know, the military we used to have a green, amber red. No no, no, you either hit it or you didn’t. Right. This is very. This is. Yes. No, this is binary. This is easy. Uh, and, you know, having that tough conversation. Well, you saw the charts. Well, I just assumed everybody else was in the red. Well, no. And that’s really why we have to force rank our people so that they know. Here’s where you are and can imagine coming home to your family and saying, hey, I’m number. You know, I made it to number three today, right? Or number two, I’m moving up. And to give that team member that sense of pride and accomplishment is so important. It’s just like the military. We have promotions, we give awards, and they’re based on accomplishments, and we want to make sure our teams get that opportunity. And I think, you know, going back to what you said, that the person who’s number two, right, people come to me and say, well, well, but I’m the best, right? I’m like, look, you’re number one in my heart, but you’re number six on the scorecard. And that’s just how it is, you know, what am I going to do? I’ll give you all my love. But you got to earn number one. Yeah.

Rudy Cazares: Yeah. No, 100%. And look, that conversation I had today. Um, it was very easy, right. For the, the numbers, the results to, you know, speak, speak volumes of like how he’s doing and, and, uh, I know he’s going to be number one. I already, you know, like, you just get that inkling he’s asking all the right questions. Obviously, he’s number two. So, uh, Quentin, if you’re out there and you’re listening to this, chances are you’re going to be number one within the next few weeks. I’m pretty confident of it.

John Berry: And let’s talk about this. You’re also very proud of it. I can hear it in your voice. I can see it in your face. And this is what we do as leaders in the military. We are so proud of the success of our subordinates. Like, why would you not want to continue that in your civilian career? Why would you want to go somewhere where you get pigeonholed when you could, when you could lead others? And Rudy, obviously you got you got four companies to lead. You got a lot going on. How do you choose those subordinate leaders? Your second in command, your deputy commanders, your XO, your S-3, the person who’s running the operation when you’re not there? How are you making decisions about who are those leaders who are running the company in your absence?

Rudy Cazares: Yeah, I’ll be honest with you. It’s been a challenge. Right. And so it’s naturally like, it’s natural for me to, like, be inclined to hire Marines and, like, right now, I have my old, uh, uh, company gunny, company first sergeant. When I was a company commander, he was my company first sergeant and acting company first sergeant as a gunny. And, uh, you know, he helps me out in my business. He’s been with me now for a couple of years, so it’s very. For me, it’s a natural thing to gravitate towards the veteran. Uh, my, my lawyer, you know, uh, former Marine logistics officer and, uh, you know, he’s my legal counsel. You know, I, we speak the same language. Uh, but we’re not leading Marines in the civilian world. Right. And so some things that are easily translated into running a company the right way also can, you know, it’s a double edged sword. You know, it can hurt you, right? We don’t we don’t talk to these people like they’re military service members. They’re civilians. Right? They respond a different way. They may not be responsive to me being stoic all the time.

Rudy Cazares: So I got to show some of that emotion. And so that requires a lot of lot of conscious work and effort. So, uh, but to answer your question bluntly, it just takes work. And so the credibility you have, the things that you say, you know, will attract people, year after year. And so there are individuals that I’ve maintained those relationships with that are with me, uh, from, from previous roles that I’ve assumed. And so every single time I talk to somebody, I just know that I’m either going to be in business with them or I’m going to be friends with them, or if not, chances are I’m not spending too much time around them because that’s just my world, you know? Right? My world in EOS is a 90 day world. My world is surrounding myself around ten, 10 to 15 good people. And so, uh, I make a conscious effort to, you know, if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. Uh, whatever, whatever energy I put out is always positive. And hopefully that just attracts the right people that want to grow with me as well.

Really what I think is transferable are those core values. And so that’s the first thing that we talk about whenever we recruit individuals to. The team. Uh, you know, sometimes I’ll have those one on one interviews where people lead with the experience that they have, either as a technician or as a driver. You know, the amount of, you know, time they spend delivering or the type of license they have. The first thing that I want to know is I want to know, do you have do you have a good attitude? Right. Are you going to be a person that works well on a team that understands that we are operating as a team, as a general manager, or as a business owner? That’s the role that I take. My managers, our coaches, you guys are the players. At some point you’re going to become the coaches or assistant coaches. So I run this business very much like a team. I call my team our team, right. We’re team car, our team joint ops. Um, you know, my, my, my individuals are team members.

Rudy Cazares: And, um, and so the core values, uh, that we that, that I look for within this organization is easily transferable. And so it is about having the right attitude, wanting to be a part of a team. It’s about being loyal, which for me, in the civilian world, loyalty. Loyalty just means reliable. Show up on time. Show up with a great attitude, dress in uniform, ready to give it 100%? Maybe an easy day, but don’t expect an easy day, right? Uh, you got to be you got to be able to get those results, right. Some people talk about working hard. Well, it’s about working hard and getting results, right. You don’t want to be that guy that works hard and spins your wheels, right. Let’s talk about those results. And then finally, it’s about safety. You know, person wants to go home the same way they came. They came to work, except with a little bit more money in their pocket. And so I completely understand that. And so it’s my responsibility to make sure that I’m creating a, uh, not only a winning culture, but also a safe one as well.

John Berry: I really like that that loyalty is showing up. Right? It’s showing up and being there for the team because that really is important. There’s a friend of mine that actually works out here. He’s in the physical therapy space, but he played football, uh, with the Cardinals with Pat Tillman and now he has his own business here and his, uh, his motto is every day is game day. And every, every one of his, uh, locations that you see it, you see it on the wall. And it’s just it’s a great it’s a great slogan because you want your team members to show up prepared now. If you could really just walk us through your four businesses and what they do. Yeah.

Rudy Cazares: So I’m an Amazon DSP stands for Delivery service provider, which is just a fancy way of calling me a contractor. And as a delivery service provider, I have a fleet of vehicles that deliver Amazon packages. So they’re branded vehicles. Uh, you see them on the street everywhere. Uh, the individuals that drive those vehicles wear the Amazon uniform. We deliver in Amazon’s packages representing the brand, but they’re full time employees. Uh, with my business. And so we’ve been able to operate out of the Bronx delivering, I mean, millions of packages at this point. For the last four years, when we started that business, we started with five vehicles. And as a result of Covid, we were able to scale and grow them, uh, to this year, I think, over 60 vehicles within our fleet, just in that business alone. Um, as a result of being an Amazon contractor, I had DAs or they call them, we call them DAs, they’re driver, delivery associates, their drivers. Uh, during Covid, they were working, they were working a second job. And, uh, you know, I live in New York, so, I mean, I would have an appreciation for that, that it’s very expensive living in New York. So I can definitely understand them working a second job. So I, I was presented with an opportunity to acquire FedEx routes. And it was an opportunity also to, uh, get some more experienced drivers, be able to get into a bigger type of vehicle, be able to deliver packages in a different area, uh, under the FedEx flag as well. So same situation, FedEx branded vehicles, uh, which I own, uh, wearing the FedEx uniform, delivering packages for FedEx. And so we’ve been successful in doing that now three years. We’re in our third peak season, a peak season with these companies that operate seven days a week, it’s like a dog year. So you can say, you know, we’ve got, uh, 28 years’ worth of experience operating in the Tri-State metro area, uh, with over 70 vehicles and over 100 drivers within our organization.

John Berry: That’s great. We say mastery takes 10,000 hours or ten years, but you’re getting those 10,000 hours real quick. Okay, so we’ve covered one of them. Tell us about the other companies.

Rudy Cazares: Well. So those are two of them okay. Okay. So two separate entities. Uh, I’ve also got a leasing company just by default, I had to, uh, buy vehicles under a separate entity and then lease them out to myself, uh, when an opportunity presented itself. And that was, uh, de-risking strategy. There’s no employees under that organization. And, uh, and it’s profitable, so I’m not complaining there. And then the fourth company was my, uh, my, my, my business coaching practice slash consulting, uh, business. And really that came out as, uh, as a passion. I saw other veterans, you know, they saw what I was doing, and I was like, look, man, I’m really no different. I’m like, you know, uh, my GPA is not that impressive, okay? I just like saying that I, you know, I can outwork most people. And, uh, the reality is, when you have a great system, you know, you’re prepared, you’re being given an opportunity and you’re smart. And I’m not talking about book smarts, I’m talking about street smarts here. Like, you’re able to take on anything. And so I was able to, with that business be able to help out other veterans, uh, that were starting on their journey or a little bit behind me or even further ahead, um, be able to help them scale and grow their businesses through the application of EOS.

John Berry: And you are a certified EOS implementer. So you decided to get the certification. Why did you do that? You were using the program you knew how to run. Why get the certification?

Rudy Cazares: Yeah, I guess, um, you know, what I wanted to do is I wanted to lend some credibility behind what it is, you know, the things that I was saying. Right. And so it’s one thing just applying us. It’s another thing actually going through the community, meeting other business coaches. Some business coaches have been doing this for quite some time. You know, some of the OGs of EOS that started before it was cool that are on a first name basis with Gino Wickman, the, uh, the founder of EOS, the author of the book called “Traction”. And so these individuals had a lot of experience, people that I can just lean, you know, lean on to be able to guide me. And, you know, uh, like you mentioned, you had an implementer that that limited experience. I have a lot of business experience. Right. I just don’t have a lot of experience being a business coach, which are two different things, right? One is being a player in the field. You could be a great player. It’s another thing to coach and uh, it’s about refining that craft. So I spent the last couple of years, uh, doing that and that was really the reason. And again, you know, my focus has been helping out the veterans. And so I wanted to make sure that I’m not I’m not just giving them, like, what I’ve learned, what I’ve been able to, you know, put together on my own. I wanted to make sure that it was something that was industry agnostic, something that is proven and, uh, something that they can get gain value from, from day one.

John Berry: For the veterans out there who have started a business and are struggling, and they don’t have an operating system. What do you tell them? Do you tell them, hey, look, get an implemented jump into EOS. Do you tell them to read traction? Do you tell them to? Hey, just learn about the Rockefeller habits. Uh, what do you do to help? Help a struggling veteran who comes to you and says, Rudy, I need some help. I’m. I’m, uh. I’m out of my. I’m out of my lane here. What do I do?

Rudy Cazares: Yeah. I mean, first things first. I mean, you know, when we’re talking about depending on the life cycle of your business and when early on, things are just so fluid. So EOS makes an assumption that you are operating in the, in the right market, selling the right product or service. So that’s a big assumption to make. I mean, most companies in startup haven’t gotten past that. And uh, even still, you know, when you’re in a high growth company, things are just so fluid that some things just become so important within the first call it the next 90 days. And it’s about just understanding what what’s the alligator closest to the boat, you know, what do you got to prioritize? You know, when I when I was in the Marine Corps early, early on as a young officer, I learned about the OODA loop. You know, the Boyd Cycle, observe, orient, decide and act. And that’s all business is. You’re constantly observing what’s going on if you’re on the ground. Right. Uh, doing a remote, I can’t speak to that. You know, I’m the guy that’s on the ground. Even though I got people that work remote from me, you know, it’s a different thing being boots on the ground.

Rudy Cazares: You’re able to observe and see things that you normally can’t, uh, behind the screen. And then you got to orient yourself. You got to orient your efforts, orient your team, your energy, your time. You got to make a decision on what you’re going to do. And you can’t be, you know, it’s not a paralysis by analysis. 80% solution. Make a decision. Right. For us, it’s like make a decision, Marine. What are you going to do? And then you act on it. Okay. And don’t be apologetic about the mistakes that you’ve made or, you know, be apologetic about the mistakes you’ve made, but you’re going to make them right. And so just get used to it. So as long as you can do that faster than your competition, then the enemy, I mean you’re just going to last. And so that’s my advice. It’s not something that’s EOS specific, but it’s something that I learned early on that I still, you know, to this day, I mean, today that I’m dealing with my 90 day world. I’m doing that. I’m going through the Boyd’s cycle every single day.

John Berry: The first time I read about the OODA loop was Jeff Sutherland, the author of “Scrum”. I think it’s like “The Art of Doing Twice as Much in Half the Time.” But he wrote a book called “Scrum.” Now, Sutherland was a fighter pilot. Uh, I believe he was Air Force during Vietnam. Yeah, yeah. And so he, he talks about how they taught in the OODA loop and they basically they said, look, you know, being indecisive gets you killed, but so does being stupid. So you have to have a framework to make your decision and that that’s the OODA loop. So yeah. Read the book “Scrum” by Jeff Sutherland. And if you really want to get into that detail.

Rudy Cazares: Once you commit to it, it’s about getting them done. Right. And, um, my, my responsibility is to focus on the company. And then I make sure that individuals have their individual rocks that are nested under that company rock. Sometimes you’ll find one individual that has more responsibility than the rest. Uh, but then it’s that’s where leadership comes into play. Those individuals that know, hey, I had a layup this quarter. That was an easy rock. I gave myself 1 or 2. Here’s this guy with 3 to 5 or gal with 3 to 5. Let me go ahead and be supporting that for number one for that individual. And that’s all it is, right? I mean, ultimately, if you don’t if you don’t hit all your rocks, okay, well, you didn’t do good. That quarter. Now you got another 90 days to make up for it. Now you got the, you know, the end of the year. So, uh, it’s about like not giving up. And, uh, you know, my responsibility is to make sure there’s alignment there. There’s synergies. Uh, but, you know, I continue to make mistakes, like, you know, I, you know, like, I like to push. I like seeing my organization grow. And, uh, and sometimes, you know, that may not be what, what the team, you know, is necessarily ready for. Um, so, uh, I continue to learn from my mistakes, though, and, and that’s the most important thing that once you come out of that 90 day world, you take a look back at, you know what you’ve done, you reset, and then you go back at it for another 90 days.

John Berry: And the Army, we called that the After Action Review. What did you call it? The Marine Corps. Same thing?

Rudy Cazares: 100%.

John Berry: All right. Well, great, because now we’re at the part of the show where we do our After Action Review, and this is the Leadership After Action Review, where we talk about three examples of great leadership that you were either a part of. Maybe it was something you did or something you experienced in the military or a civilian. And then the three down, the three examples of poor leadership that could have been you or somebody else. You don’t have to identify who it was. But let’s get into those. Let’s start with the good. Uh, Rudy, give us three examples of great leadership that you experienced.

Rudy Cazares: Yeah, I think the first one is, is, is really like what defines a Marine leader. And so let me, let me just go ahead and maybe take a step back. I was also I was I was prior enlisted. So I’m one of those guys that, you know, went over to the dark side is how they call it. Right? So I was enlisted. I had a couple deployments, a couple activations as a reservist saw combat as a young corporal. And that was really what, you know, kind of led me to becoming a Marine officer. And so early on, as an enlisted person, I learned that, uh, the Latin phrase “Ductus Exemplo,” which is lead by example. And so, you know, that gets that gets pounded into you. And so the moment that you stop leading by example, you start, you know, you start losing credibility. And there’s two individuals, two Marines that, you know, really just come to mind. One of them was my old battalion commander when I was in Ramadi, uh, as a young platoon commander, his name is Colonel Kozinski. This guy was in the battle battlespace every single day. I mean, that was not a day that he wasn’t. And so that encouraged every platoon leader to get out there with the Marines to patrol the streets of Ramadi.

Rudy Cazares: And, uh, and it was just that kind of leadership in the second person is, uh, is Lieutenant Colonel Healey and, uh, he was my battalion executive officer in that deployment, but then became my team chief when I was in on an advisor team and talk about, like, you know, leading by example. I mean, he was on a small team. So it’s you can’t hide, right? You’re working out with the Marines, you’re with them, you’re on patrol, you’re wearing the gear because they’re wearing the gear. So leadership by example is the first thing that comes to mind. Uh, the second one is know yourself, seek self-improvement. Um, you know, my legal counsel. Really? My best friend, Daniel Rodriguez, former logistics officer, uh, in the Marine Corps. Man, he got out. He could have probably, you know, just done very well on his own. Incredibly smart. But he continued to get his MBA, got his, uh, got his law degree, and, uh, and today, I mean, he’s helping me out in my, my existing business. So I mean, you talk about a guy that knows himself and looks to continue to improve himself. I mean, he just epitomizes that. And then the third person is being technically and tactically proficient. And I have to call a shout out to my gunny, Gunny Castillo, Chris Castillo, who after 22 years retired, doesn’t have to, you know, deal with the stuff that I’m dealing with every single day.

Rudy Cazares: Uh, but he does, right? And he figures out a way, uh, to better himself every single day. And so those are the three things that still resonate with me, uh, as a young Marine, until, you know, me being a business owner today. Um, in terms of poor leadership. Look, if your communication skills suck, I mean, you suck, right? I mean, you poor communication that that that to me, I mean, and look, you could be leading ten, but it’s a big difference leading 100. And so the one thing that I, that I’ve really recognized as, uh, now that I have like a company again, is that whatever you say to your people, you got to say it seven times before you hear it the first time. And so when you got 100 people, be prepared to say it 700 times or get better at your systems in how you communicate. But the communication needs to be there. Uh, second thing on, like poor leadership is you got to make tough decisions. And look, I’m an example of this. Sometimes it’s hard right now. Now that you’re a civilian, you start growing a heart, right? You start being not as stoic and, uh, you start realizing, hey, people got families, right? I’m impacting people.

Rudy Cazares: And sometimes those decisions that you made as a young Marine or, you know, young service member, you know, was easy then now it’s like a little bit different, but you still got to make those tough decisions. So don’t let up on that. Uh, got to keep making them. And then the third one, which really for me is it’s just like a deal breaker. You got to have morals, you got to have principles. Your credibility as an individual extends beyond your time in service. And that credibility, I mean, really extends beyond just your time, your 9 to 5 job. And so what you say, uh, what you do, and you know, is, you know, what you’re saying is what you’re doing, uh, doing the right thing by people making sure that you’re, you’re, you’re there’s no question about it. And, uh, like, like for me, it’s, you know, you gotta have good morals. You gotta have good principles. Especially in business. Most people try to write it off by saying, hey, you know, it’s just business. No, it’s because it’s business. You got to have good credibility. You got to have a good reputation. So, um, hopefully that helps.

John Berry: Now that that that that’s great. And all of them great examples of the good, good leadership and the poor leadership. And if you if ever served you’ve experienced all of it. Uh, and you get to usually experience it again as a civilian. So thank you so much for your time here today, Rudy. Tell our listeners where they can get ahold of you.

Rudy Cazares: Yeah. So the best way to get ahold of me is going to be via email. That’s my primary email. And so if you want to get ahold of me, shoot, shoot me out a message. More than likely I’ll shoot you out a Calendly invite and we’ll, you know, we’ll get on a call together and see how I can help you.

John Berry: Hey. Yeah. If you want to work in New York City and Rudy’s company, that’s probably a good place. And if you need to hire an EOS implementer if you’re struggling. Uh, Rudy is a great resource. Once again, my biggest gripe with the coaching community out there is a lot of them. Maybe they ran a business 20 years ago, or maybe they haven’t run a business at all. But Rudy is doing it while he’s teaching it, and that is key because he’s learning those experiences on the you know, he’s having those same experiences on the ground and those are the best coaches, right? If you think about the coaches in the military, the best coaches you had were probably when you were enlisted were probably your squad leader. Why? Because he was out there on patrol with you the whole time, showing you what you know, how to do things, uh, telling you what gear you needed, showing you how to inspect your weapon, making sure that you know you were taking care of. Those are the best coaches. And so when I think of the business coaching, I don’t need somebody who’s an academic who knows the right book answer. I need someone who’s walked the same streets as me, fought the same fights, and is still doing it because there’s a big difference between the coaches who are still in the game, the player coaches and those who have never been in the game and those who are in the game 20 years ago. So thank you for everything that you do and your continued desire to help veterans, whether it’s employing them or helping their businesses. Thanks so much, Rudy Cazares.

Rudy Cazares: Thank you so much, John. Thanks for having me.

John Berry: Thank you for joining us today on Veteran Led, where we pursue our mission of promoting veteran leadership in business, strengthening the veteran community, and getting veterans all of the benefits that they earn. If you know a leader who should be on the Veteran Led podcast, report to our online community by searching @veteranled on your favorite social channels and posting in the comments, we want to hear how your military challenges prepared you to lead your industry or community, and we will let the world know. And of course, hit subscribe and join me next time on Veteran Led.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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