Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Human Resource Consultancy To Help Businesses Build Future Workforce: Lana Johnston As The CEO Of Taking It Forward

We recently had the opportunity to interview Lana Johnston, an Executive HR Practitioner, Certified Chair, and the CEO of Taking It Forward. Lana has had a successful 25-year career in various sectors, with over 15 years in executive roles.

Lana started her career as the youngest female Business Banking Manager at NAB and has since made an impact in diverse fields, such as the arts and large brands like Suncorp. Her philosophy of “taking it forward” drives her professional ethos, which extends to board and committee roles. She is also passionate about music and sports, enriching her community connections. Lana is a consultant and partner who guides individuals and organizations towards practical outcomes and growth.

Professional Journey Of Lana Johnston

We started the interview by asking, “Can you walk us through your professional journey and how it led to where you are today?”

Lana shared, “I started my career in Banking, even though my degree was in HR. I enjoyed the challenge of writing deals, developing strong client relationships, and leading teams. At the time I was the youngest female Business Banking Manager appointed and not long after I was in a Regional Executive role with 29 direct reports and accountability for a large geographically spread region of bankers and branches totaling over 150 peoples.

 Banking and Finance was a solid grounding and has served me well – I’ve always been an HR person with a practical lens – how will things be received, what will the outcomes be? I’ve held Executive roles for about 15 years in general and specialist areas.

 I enjoy bringing people’s strategies to life and applying my professional learnings to life in general. I offer practical HR consultancy services including people strategies, advisory support, and tailored coaching.”

Adaptability Amidst Adversities

To learn more about the obstacles faced by Lana Johnston in her career and how she overcame them, we asked, “Reflecting on your career, what have been some of the most significant challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?”

She replied, “Career challenges often involve people. Challenging leaders have forced me to learn how to navigate differently so I can still get the outcomes required for me, my team and the organization. The GFC in Australia was a tough time, being a challenging economic environment. Balancing my young family while surrounded by people without children, I had to make careful decisions to ensure family time was protected. I was working part-time in a strategic role where it was critical to keep focussed on the priorities in front of us.”

Striking A Perfect Balance

We further asked, “How do you balance long-term vision with short-term operational needs?”

Lana responded, “Any long-term vision needs strong leadership with inspiration and encouragement. I’m a big fan of roadmaps. Clarity on the destination sets teams up for success – how they get there is part of the fun of developing milestones and an operational plan. Operational needs require wise allocation of resources, agility to adapt, and an environment of communication and collaboration.

 Planning must balance the demands of today with the ambitions of tomorrow, ensuring sustainable growth and success.”

Current Offerings

We were intrigued to learn more about the services offered by Lana Johnston and if she is planning to make some additions. So, we asked, “Tell us more about your services and if you are planning to add something new in the future.”

She replied, “My 3 areas of specialty are coachability, connection, and transitions – they are intertwined. Being coachable is crucial in both personal and professional settings, as it facilitates connections and ultimately leads to success and happiness. Moreover, navigating transitions requires listening, empathy, and positivity, as well as providing support and guiding individuals toward the next steps. Building and maintaining connections with others is also vital for progress and growth.

 Just because something ends doesn’t mean it never should have been. We inherently want to learn from the past and have previous and varied experiences that have shaped the person we are today.

She added, “Utilising my expertise in HR and business, I aim to Impact our existing relationships with our elderly loved ones. Following the passing of my father in 2018, I realized the importance of intentional connection and creating cherished memories.

 My goal is to change perspectives by educating individuals on the advantages of establishing strong bonds with aging family members while encouraging them to make minor adjustments in their approach. Through practical advice and meaningful suggestions, we can reshape the aging journey and enhance meaningful connections.

Staying Ahead Of The Curve

Eager to learn more about the approaches adopted by Lana Johnston to assess emerging market trends, we inquired, “What methods do you use to analyze market trends, and how have these influenced your business decisions?”

A lot of my current work is associated with culture. Staying on top of evolving work patterns and expectations is critical to understanding and advising in this space.” Lana shared.

Impact Of Technological Transformation

To gather Lana’s perspective on emerging technology in her industry, we asked, “How has digital transformation affected your business model?”

She replied, “Digital transformation has driven increased interest in the employee experience and culture within organisations, and has done the same for me.”

Employee Empowerment And Satisfaction

We asked, “What strategies do you implement to maintain high levels of employee engagement and satisfaction?”

Lana added, “Any strategies for employee engagement must look at the full experience.  I’ve been leading actions for connectivity across the full employee lifecycle. Every aspect, from onboarding to exit is important, ensuring each touchpoint is positive and engaging, and doesn’t feel disjointed or mixed in messaging.”

Business To Be Remembered

We concluded the interview by asking, “How do you want your business to be remembered, and what steps are you taking to secure that legacy?”

Lana shared, “I want Taking it Forward to be known for its expertise in HR and the fact that it used that expertise for the broader benefit of the community. The world has been evolving and what people value has fundamentally changed – there has never been a more important time than now to understand and intentionally focus on connection.

Follow Lana Johnston on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Visit Taking It Forward on LinkedIn and their website https://www.takingitforward.com/about-us

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