Interview with Max Viessmann: 13 honest answers!
8th July 2021
Would you like to get to know our co-CEO a bit better? Max Viessmann recently sat down with the German Markt & Mittelstand publication to answer 13 questions. We’ve translated and reproduced them here:
THE MAN FOR THE CLIMATE
Since 2017, Maximilian Viessmann has been managing the family-owned company of the same name as co-chief executive officer, where he represents the fourth generation. Previously, the 32-year-old industrial engineer managed the group's digital business and worked as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group.
The Viessmann Group was founded in 1917 and specialises in heating and air conditioning technology. The company employs 12,700 employees worldwide. Its headquarters are in Allendorf in Hesse, Germany.
1. What makes an honourable business leader for you?
Someone who has the courage to take responsibility. For themselves and for their team, their colleagues and for future generations.
2. Who would you advise not to become an entrepreneur?
Let me put it the other way round: a lively entrepreneurial spirit as well as the will to break new ground and not to rest on one's laurels, for me, are the essential factors for every successful entrepreneur.
3. On a scale of one to ten: How successful is your company?
The success of our company is based on 12,700 family members and several thousand partners (mostly installers of our products) worldwide. Due to the extraordinary commitment of all involved, our company has developed very positively. I am very proud of this. I am happy to leave a scale evaluation to others.
4. Which leadership trend do you think is overrated?
Perfectionism per se. Setbacks are part of it and make you strong. They give you strength if you learn from them and implement the consequences.
5. What is the biggest change that you have had to deal with professionally in the past ten years?
The global pandemic. Because a crisis shows who you really are, and not who you want to be.
6. What was the most valuable advice you got from your father before you took over the company?
The connection between origins and the future. Because only in combination can we build on the strength of several generations and strengthen our strengths.
7. What networks are important to you?
Contacts with people who have a similar understanding of values, but completely different perspectives.
8. Which entrepreneur would you take with you to a desert island?
It's quite clear: I wouldn't take another entrepreneur with me, but the 12,700-strong Viessmann family. So it has to be a big island.
9. What is wrong but sounds right?
The claim that climate protection depends on technological possibilities. This is wrong because the necessary technologies already exist. Climate protection is a question of responsibility and will!
10. How do you relax?
Meditation and sport in the morning, teamwork with colleagues during the day, rest with the family in the evening. Being physically fit, mentally focussed and emotionally balanced through routine is the basis of long-term success.
11. Can you imagine a life without work - and what would you do then?
Being a family entrepreneur is not a job, but a vocation. I have only borrowed responsibility for the company from the generations to come.
12. Are you missing anything on the happiness front?
I am lucky to have a wonderful family and to run a company that creates living spaces for future generations. I think it would be presumptuous to want to find greater fulfilment.
13. Do you have a life motto?
It coincides with the purpose of the company: We create living spaces for generations to come.