As a child, did you dream of following a particular profession?
No, I didn't. But even as a child I liked to observe particularly strong, impressive individuals with their own opinions and attitudes. I would actually have liked to have talked to them – my interest in communication arose from this.
What would you do differently if you could start all over again?
I am very pleased today to be seen as a doer, not a ditherer. I would do most things in exactly the same way.
What did your teachers think about you?
My teachers always found my conduct good. Some of them had the insight to affirm me as an individual and were therefore strong motivators.
What extra-curricular activity that you did in your youth are you most proud of now?
In my youth I was treasurer of the youth group and organised numerous events, such as bazaars, festivals and anniversaries without the sponsorship that is standard these days. And on our own we always ensured a successful financial outcome.
Is management training in line with the state of the art? And based on your experience, do you believe that you can assess it?
Management training has taken major steps – mostly for the better. However, I tend to agree with the view that: "Being rich is not incompatible with acting fairly." For me this means that decency and money can go together. Profit optimisation must never be the top priority. Responsibility for the workforce and society should never be neglected.
Where would you place different emphases in management training?
Changes are part of everyday business, but they should always be improvements and should be far-sighted and sustainable. Solidarity, creativity, culture, hard work and enjoyment are values that demand more space and training. A strong, successful team can achieve significantly more for the benefit of humankind.
Who has encouraged you most?
I am grateful to numerous individuals who have encouraged me in many respects by their example. For instance, Professor Rupert Lang, a German Jesuit with 4 doctorates (thinking), Dr Jack Thommen (free speech, Goethe and philosophy) and Sami Molcho (body language), to name just a few. My secondary school teacher Alfred Böhi had a love of culture and history. He opened our class's eyes and instilled a consciousness of culture in our lives – music / painting / poetry etc.
Which person has been a professional role model for you?
There are lots of them. Various successful entrepreneurs have "taught" me about knowing, identifying, wanting and realising.
Which are the most important attributes of a manager for you?
A manager must live his or her strengths, but must also demonstrate compassion. Empathy, enthusiasm and professionalism are always decisive factors.
Which characteristics of your employees to you consider to be particularly valuable?
Our employees are loyal and show commitment to the company over many years. Some of them are valuable co-entrepreneurs that I can trust confidently and unconditionally.
What do quotas for women achieve?
Quotas for women achieve nothing. Skill and a feel for personnel selection are self-regulatory success factors. Women who are fighters and have a good attitude, charm and social competence are much more important to me than regulations.
Have you changed your management principles over the course of time?
Certainly. In the 47 years of my professional life I have continually learned and refined my management principles by reflecting on what offers benefit to people, encourages them and makes them more successful. Generally, I have started with myself.
The complaint these days is that the world of work has become more hectic and stressful. What is your opinion?
"A hectic work environment is the sign of mental stagnation," according to my mentor Josef Schmidt. How right he is, particularly in this time of information overload and excessive technology. Mobile phones, e-mails and boundless immediate information restrict feelings and sensations and mean that people are less likely to look each other in the eye.
The topic of sustainability is increasingly important. What is your contribution, now and in the future?
At RAUSCH we live sustainability. Lifecycle assessments, cold-pressed herbal extracts, controlled herb cultivation at Swiss contract growers, a solar power plant at the company and a 21% CO2 reduction in 2014 are important elements here. Sustainability is always part of the continuous process of improvement.
What is your opinion of the current economic situation?
History books and biographies from times past recount similar situations to those that are evident in today's society. Mental uncertainty, declining sales, collapse in prices (for instance, these days supermarket shampoo often costs less than washing-up liquid) reduce the unique, individual and non-replaceable elements of the offer. Mass merchandising and standardisation are certainly not a recipe for success for the Swiss economy. A pioneering spirit, solidity, reliability and confidence have made "Swissness" a quality that is widely recognised and valued, for instance in China, and will ccntinue to be for a long time to come.
What did you last argue about?
Arguing is not a hobby of mine. I prefer to identify problems and see them as challenging opportunities.
What does money mean to you?
Cold is the intrinsic heat of gold. Money cannot outweigh health and happiness.
What importance do you place on social networks in your professional and private life?
Social networks are valuable influencers of image and reputation in business and in private life. I remember many of my encounters with valuable individuals as "worthwhile milestones" in my life. However, the decisive thing is authenticity. Simulated or feigned goodwill does not last.
What about service clubs?
A good question. Unfortunately, in the past I've never had time to join one.
Do you listen to advice from your personal sphere?
There is a fine line between advice and criticism. But advice should be considered.
Do you trust your gut feelings?
In addition to rational thinking (facts and figures), gut feelings, intuition and empathy are for me essential. I am used to listening to my "inner voice".
Where did you spend your last holiday?
10 days with glorious weather in Tessin.
How well do you cook?
Anyone who wants to eat well, knows how important the seasoning is. Cooking with passion enhances the spirit and the senses, it relaxes and gives enjoyment.
Are you interested in the Olympic Games and big football tournaments etc.?
Sport is often driven by money. I enjoy the successes of hard-working, sympathetic sportsmen and women – and medals.
What really makes you relaxed?
For me, relaxation means recharging my body, spirit and soul. Nature, music, painting, happy times and sport are relaxation for me, as are lively discussions with cultured individuals.
What things can get you annoyed?
I get annoyed about arrogance and the behaviour of people whose work and effort only serve themselves. Thoughtlessness and aggression, carelessness and a lack of respect are things that often get under my skin. Joined-up thinking often seems to have disappeared.
How many hours a day do you work?
Work is enjoyable, so for many years I've been used to 12-15 hours of concentrated work each day.
From what particular failure have you learnt a great deal?
The devil is often in the detail. Complete, well-organised and sensible controls are essential.
In what area did you last study or train?
In my role as an entrepreneur, sales psychology is a must! But it is not just goods that have to be sold. Ideas, images, innovations and services are useful for customers and staff when the manner and tone of the communication are right.
Is there anything you mistrust?
Stargazing and taxation [Marco Baumann replies using untranslatable wordplay]
What do you dislike as a private citizen?
It worries me that fewer and fewer young people put themselves forward for public office, and by never casting their votes they fail to appreciate the value of real democracy.
Are you confident about Switzerland?
Yes, I am. But only if careful and far-sighted thinkers make a great personal commitment to the welfare of the Swiss people and set an intelligent course for the future, as was previously the case in uncertain times.
Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
In five years my successor will be successfully leading the RAUSCH family company after I have learnt to let go. With good health, I shall have the luxury to indulge in my hobbies.