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Svet Johnson: Leveraging collaboration effectively as a change agent

As a Change Manager, Svet is responsible for enacting real change for our clients. Her focus lies in digital and cultural change initiatives, supporting businesses in their quest for operational excellence.

As an agent of change and optimisation, Svet works closely with front-line managers and various stakeholders. She seeks out improvement opportunities and helps managers to achieve sustainable goal alignment and behavioural change.

Svet tells us about her career so far, her aspirations, and the future of work that she envisions.

What has your career journey been like to date?

Throughout my career, I have delivered business transformation and operational improvement programs. This has equipped me with complementary project and change management skills.

At Enlighten, my skill sets have been further honed by my role as Change Manager, and I am able to accompany my clients through every step of their evolution – from initial client assessments to post-implementation optimisation initiatives. I have also gained much experience from a wide range of clients and delivery projects.

As Change Manager, I am at the front end of implementing our operational excellence products and methodologies, and delivering and enabling change within the organisations we work with. My job is very dynamic and fast-paced as I need to be able to build relationships, understand our client’s needs and opportunities for improvements, as well as enable and embed sustainable change – all within our usual six-month project cycle.

Often, I am coaching and guiding front-line managers on how to make informed decisions and drive efficiency and productivity while reducing operational waste. These front-line managers are taught to utilise Enlighten’s tools, data, and insights reporting effectively. The most rewarding part of this job is seeing their wide-eyed, enlightened reactions to the data results after the conclusion of our programmes.

Have you had a role model or mentor who has helped you on your journey?

There are several colleagues that I look up to as role models, whom I aspire to learn from as they can help me visualise the path that I want to take. They demonstrate skills and behaviours that I resonate with and hope to emulate.

Thankfully, the work culture in Enlighten encourages openness and has allowed me to work closely with my role models. This has been fantastic for my personal development.

More broadly, my colleagues at Enlighten have shown me that working together and supporting each other comes first. A collaborative work culture is key to us delivering our products successfully for our clients. There is a real sense and culture of “no job is too small or too big for me” – we are all in it together regardless of our seniority, and we all work to deliver the best possible solutions for our clients.

This motivates and continues to inspire me when things get challenging or difficult on a project, because I am confident in our team and know that we will work through these hurdles together.

If you were mentoring a leader of the future, what advice or guidance would you give to help them on their way?

Listen, absorb and take everything in at every step of your journey. Never miss an opportunity to be involved and to learn.

You may have had moments thinking “What am I doing at this meeting or on this project or initiative?” But the best way to grow is to be involved, and all that listening and absorbing will pay off as the knowledge you glean will show itself in your future contributions!

Is there anything specific that you would like to achieve in your career? What is the next step on your journey?

I certainly am motivated to continue growing in our delivery department, and I hope to expand my roles and responsibilities to be a Change Program Director. In this role, I will be able to apply myself and manage a larger team to support and enable colleagues in their professional development, as well as enable the businesses we work with to embark on their transformational journey with peace of mind.

What are the biggest changes you have seen to date in the areas of leadership and operational excellence?

The biggest trend in the operational excellence space is the strive for data-driven and informed business improvement initiatives and solutions. Business leaders are taking big data seriously and are cognisant of the fact that things may not be going well in certain areas, processes, and operations.

With the support of actionable data, leaders can make informed decisions on business improvements and operational optimisation efforts.

What do you think the future holds for leaders as businesses continue to change rapidly?

We were all exposed to a period of forced accelerated change because of the pandemic. While lockdowns were tough, it proved that we can continue to function and operate in most industries and businesses remotely.

More particularly it broke geographical barriers – people and businesses were able to collaborate and work together without the need to travel at all. This enabled the mobility of talent and should continue to accelerate collaboration and innovation globally. My hope is that business leaders continue to fuel and empower this remote and hybrid connectivity and collaboration to ensure that those traditional geographical constraints are no longer a barrier to growth.

You were a recent winner of the Enlighten BOBS award, a peer-nominated award for Enlighten team members who exemplify the BOBS code: Be respectful and humble, One team, Bring positive energy, Step up; how would you encourage your peers to also strive for this?

It really means a lot to me that my colleagues have recognised my efforts and believe that I exemplify Enlighten’s core values. It is through having a great team and colleague support that we achieve great results. I would encourage my peers to continue to be their authentic selves and to continue to work hard and together towards delivering the best possible outcomes for our clients. We really have a true One Team company culture at Enlighten!

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