Accenture’s Renato Scaff on Why Diverse Teams Are the Critical Link in the Supply Chain

Originally published at accenture.com. Renato Scaff is Accenture’s Senior Managing Director – North America Supply Chain and Operations Lead. Accenture ranked No. 2 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.

 

If you know me, you know I bring high energy and passion to everything I do.

After more than a couple of decades of consulting in a variety of areas — from customer and channels to digital technology, retail and consumer goods — I’m excited to bring that passion and excitement to supply chain.

Especially at a time when intelligent supply chains have become an extremely critical link in a company’s overall growth and success.

I like to think my enthusiasm inspires my teams as they help supply chain leaders reimagine their supply networks for tomorrow.

 

Diversity drives change

Many of my discussions with clients today revolve around supply chains and how to rebuild for the future, as we continue to respond to the disruption created by the pandemic. But we can’t rebuild our supply chains for tomorrow with the same mindset we’ve used for the past 50 years.

In the past, the supply chain function has not typically been rife with diverse teams. I’m Latino and I remember clearly what it felt like to be the only Latino managing director in my office. I’m happy to say that’s changing as organizations increasingly understand the importance of inclusion and diversity in their workplaces.

We are proud and transparent about our drive for diversity at Accenture. It fosters innovation and new ways of working — and it has a ripple effect on the work we do for our clients. Each of our supply chain people are ambassadors of change for diversity within the workplace.

 

4 ways I support my people

I’m at a point in my career where I can focus a larger part of my time helping the teams I lead to achieving their personal and career goals. As a “people person,” that is probably my favorite part of going to work each day.

One of the reasons I like working at Accenture is that I’m not left to my own devices to build culture. I’m responsible for a positive, enriching culture for my teams but I have Accenture’s broader culture to build upon.

I want the people I lead to have a good experience every day, so they feel inspired to be their best selves and do the best work they can.

Here are four things I focus on to help make that happen:

  1. When you work here, you are seen.

I have five children, including a daughter with learning disabilities. It took time for us to find the right environment with leaders, coaches and mentors who saw not only who she was, but who she could become. I watched her build confidence and courage over time, and she ended up being valedictorian of her high school class.

I try to ensure my team leads are doing the same thing for their people. Being seen means feeling accepted and respected for who you are, which encourages you to take the next step in the role that best fits your skills, passions and aspirations—and can inspire you to do your best work that truly makes a difference.

  1. You should feel safe in all work situations and environments.

Do you feel safe to be your authentic self at work? That could mean feeling comfortable telling people you need to miss a meeting because you’ve made a promise to celebrate your child’s birthday in person, or not worrying about your team’s reaction when you bring your same-sex partner to the office holiday celebration.

It is vital to feel welcomed and respected at work. Part of that is knowing that when things aren’t right, we’ll do the right thing and make them so.

  1. I want you to feel like part of a family. Connected.

Everyone, at some point in their career, is truly freaked out over a deliverable or a critical deadline. When you feel connected, it means you know who you can call on the team to help you. It also means you feel a sense of belonging and support, even on a team distributed across several continents. You are not in this on your own.

  1. You need to raise your hand. Be courageous.

I’ve always been drawn to innovative work. I’ve often thought, when trying to produce something that’s first-of-its-kind, “Gosh, why the heck did I go and complicate my life this way?” It can be daunting, right? But we do a lot of first-of-its-kind work at Accenture, so it’s part of the deal. I want my teams to go for it. That means giving them the green light to be courageous, knowing that mistakes will be taken in stride.

Courage also comes in being your true self. When my three-year-old runs into my office during a call, I scoop him up. I’m not embarrassed. We work and we have a life—and the two sometimes run together. My teams knowing my identity as a dad just shows them another side of me. And I want them to feel that same freedom.

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