Johnny Heinmann, board member and consultant, volunteer mentor at Early Warning Denmark, 52 years
What is your background? (work experience)
Entrepreneur from the age of 15. I have been involved in the management and development of private companies for more than 35 years.
Why do you help companies in distress on a volunteer basis?
Early Warning is about saving companies and jobs, but for me personally it is also about helping people that deserve a new chance to succeed. Often company owners take significant personal risks in the attempt to build their companies, to enable growth and to create the jobs that we all need. Often not only both their hands and feet are on the hotplate, but also grandmother and the children! Their retirement savings has been spend, the house is pledged, credits are in overdraft and behind it all there is a family who - deeply affected by the situation - is trying to live their everyday life. Early Warning is about real people who fight for their survival, and of course they should be helped at a critical time in their life when they need it the most.
What are the key success factors for your collaboration with the company owner?
Mutual trust and respect in combination with the necessary know how are key factors for a successful collaboration. The volunteer mentor offers his/her competences and experience as well as a valuable “outside in” look at the company and the situation, new energy and hope. Being a company owner in distress is often a lonely affair, and when every day has turned into a struggle for survival, thinking and acting rational is often impossible. I am 100 % committed to helping the company owner deal with the crisis, to reorganize and find a new, more viable way forward. Judgement and blame does not exist in the toolbox of the mentor. The cards have been dealt and now we will make the most out of it to the benefit of the owner, his/her employees and the family.