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Sol-ti President Rob Paladino: “Always Be Leading”

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Sol-ti President Rob Paladino was named to the position in 2019. The company is one of the nation’s leading beverage manufacturer of Organic, Glass Bottled, and Living Beverages.

As president of Sol-ti, Rob Paladino brings “an accelerated focus on the long-term strategic direction, national expansion and overall success of the booming company.” According to Sol-ti founder and CEO Ryne O’Donnell, Rob Paladino is a “trusted leader with vast experience and a proven track record of delivering exceptional results.”

Aside from Sol-ti, Rob Paladino has worked as a senior executive in various companies. He has played central roles in “successfully growing brands at an impressive roster of beverage giants.” For 14 years, he worked as Vice President at PepsiCo before moving on to MillerCoors in the same position.

Rob Paladino leads Sol-ti in its focus in “continuing to build a world class team, developing new retail relationships, expanding Sol-ti’s distribution in new channels and overseeing saels, finance, operations, marketing and legal.”

According to Rob Paladino, Sol-ti “is changing the way people think about consumer-packaged goods.” He has seen the company’s “unparalleled product positioning, incredible team and promising future from day one.”

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Rob Paladino joins Sol-ti in its passion to provide “healthy living and sustainability” to its customers. The company offers diverse selections of beverages, each of which is an “alchemy of fresh ingredients with very real benefits for well-being.”

Check out more interviews with healthy living visionaries here.

You likely are your own worst critic. Rob Paladino, Sol-ti

Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Rob Paladino: Today I serve as partner and President in the rapidly emerging company, Sol-ti. Sol-ti stands out by living the mission of providing liquids of vitality, while also preserving our planet with the use of sustainable glass packaging. The fact that the founder pivoted from 100% juice to SuperFood SuperAde and SuperShot lines is testimony to the fleet footedness that makes Sol-ti, Sol-ti.

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Rob Paladino: You likely are your own worst critic. And when confronted with criticisms from investors, partners, or clients, remember that they have a stake in your success too. They have picked you to steer the relationship you share to success. Keep the image of success in your forethoughts. Imagine the feeling of ‘delivering the goods.’ Remember, it is your role to ideate solutions, so take time to ideate and don’t get in the weeds when you should be trimming them.

Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Rob Paladino: There is a soul mate who believed in me. Regardless of those matters that stressed or were joyful, I had someone with whom to share the moment, in whom to confide and with whom to commiserate or celebrate. After all, we work to live.

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?

Rob Paladino: Three attributes define a great company — extraordinary controls of processes, excellent people and an exceptional product consumers need and want. I have seen average products with great execution by great people be great products — and outperform amazing inventions with poor execution.

And the failure to plan is the failure to see new consumer desires.

Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?

Rob Paladino: At the risk of repeating a cliché, to fail to plan is to plan to fail. Every business leader can measure, assess, and read the consumer acceptance. The recruitment of new loyals or the depletion of loyals MUST be measured. And the failure to plan is the failure to see new consumer desires. Like advice not to ride a stock emotionally, business leaders must see when to abandon a product in low or no growth mode and redirect attention to advancement and growth.

Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

Rob Paladino: In consumables, as opposed to service or durables businesses, overcoming challenging economic resistance is a factor of appealing to consumerism. And in food and beverage consumables, elasticity of demand is associated with price, volume, functionality, taste, and fashion. All these instruments in our symphony help us to withstand turbulent times.

Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

Rob Paladino: Without question, listening. Leaders who believe they must have the answers, rather than elicit them, are the obstacle and they don’t know it. At Sol-ti, when motivated to overcome the challenge of removing our plastic caps from the waste-stream and converting rolled on pilfer proof aluminum, I had strong opinions on how to position this with consumers from experience. It was not my inclination however to ‘tell’ the team, but to listen. And I am certain our positioning, when launched in March 2021, will be the product of collaboration and group intuition.

Leaders who believe they must have the answers, rather than elicit them, are the obstacle and they don’t know it.

Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?

Rob Paladino: Knowingness and lagniappe. Anticipate at every step of your customer experience the sensation from the customer’s eyes. Is that email brief but rich in information? Is that eCommerce packaging ‘on brand?’ And did you add something extra or unexpected to the experience that will compel your customer to tell others?

Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

Rob Paladino: ‘Social Media’ is a broad brush. It is advantageous for the brand and for consumers to connect, but it is not ‘make or break’ in scaling a CPG company at retail. The many specific platforms, each have their own potential benefits and perils. Generally, some but not all available platforms are necessary for the brands I have led. Executing in store, winning at retail, is still where the ‘war’ is won. But battles are fought on Instagram as an excellent portal for a vibrant brand hero story and on Facebook as a place to promote consumption.

Leaders should always be leading, not doing. Rob Paladino

Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Rob Paladino: Leaders should always be leading, not doing. And they should be leading humans of great potential and capacity. Leaders starting out may accept shortcomings from their people because they have not the time or money (so they think) to top-grade. Avoiding this error means finding the time and energy to be recruiting as much as 30% of your time.

Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Rob Paladino: Perhaps my background is a testament. I strongly view food and beverage as the greatest source of wellness. What we consume for fuel and refreshment should be well balanced, functional, and delicious. This is a true passion.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Rob Paladino: Follow me and Sol-ti at:

Social media: @drinksolti

Sol-ti Team page

LinkedIn

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

 

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