David Kohler, Jr., President of Kohler Co.

David Kohler, President of Kohler Co.

Knowing his product: “Working at almost every one of our manufacturing areas has given me an appreciation for the hard work that goes into quality craftsmanship.”

Being the face of Kohler Co.: “Working on the front lines, talking to people about what they like and don’t like, has shaped me. You really get to know the customer that way.”

Taking chances: “My best business decisions have involved betting on the right people. I remember a young man that started in our organization in his twenties, as a controller of a plant, but from the earliest day, I felt he had what it took, and now he’s a president.”

Transparency: “The clearer you can be about what you want to achieve as an organization, the better your associates will be able to live up to your standards.”

The turning point: “The biggest turning point in my career was in 1996, when I was tapped to become sector vice president of plumbing for North America. That showed a massive vote of confidence in my abilities.”

Being David Kohler: “If I had to describe myself in three words, I’d say I’m visionary, entrepreneurial, and hard-working.”

Leadership: “Your leadership style should reflect your personal convictions.”

Success: “My definition of success is obtaining personal happiness by achieving your dream, whatever it is that you aspire to do.”

Family business: “This is a family business, guided by family principles, but of the company’s 30,000 employees, only six are family members. Our real strength is having 30,000 people who buy into our guiding principles.”