While, at first, he felt like he had to drag people along, such as by sending facts and videos to people he knew were more closed off to the idea, that’s changing.
“Our employees are definitely jumping on board, and they’re starting to take it places that I didn’t even expect they would,” he says.
For example, the logistics team that handles all product packaging and shipments asked certain suppliers to switch to more sustainable packaging options.
“I wanted to hug each one of them when they told me,” Lesker says. “I was like, ’Yes, finally, it’s taking hold.’”
- Show your commitment to get others to commit to you.
- Change is easier to process with a foundation of trust.
- Create an all-in mentality by empowering your employees.
Name: Kurt Lesker IV
Title: President and CEO
Company: Kurt J. Lesker Co.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh University and an MBA from the Fuqua School Business at Duke University
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it? When I was 16, I had an internship at the Kurt J. Lesker Co. I worked in our maintenance department. I picked up garbage and cleaned toilets for a summer.
It taught me that I didn’t want to pick up garbage and clean toilets for the rest of my life, so I needed to focus and study in school. But it also taught me that no matter what job I was doing here, I needed to do it well.
I earned a lot of respect from people. That job certainly is not considered the most glamorous, but I was happy to do it. I said, ‘Hey, this is what I’m doing this summer. I’m going to do it as well as I possibly can.’
Where might someone find you on the weekend? They’ll find me swimming at the Rivers Club, getting ready for the next Ironman race. They’ll find me on a ski slope somewhere. I really enjoy skiing. Or, they’ll find me in the air because I’m a private pilot and I really love flying.
What are you currently reading? A book called “Principles,” by Ray Dalio. It’s all about principle-based leadership, trying to discover what grounds you and how you make decisions.