The unprecedented challenges of the past three years have tested CEOs and their leadership teams. From technology to the needs of employees, consumers, customers and partners, businesses are being called on to dramatically change the ways they work, engage and transact. They are also being asked to reconsider their leadership styles. One company places talent at the center of business transformation, describing its culture of equality as an "innovation multiplier." Accenture, the global professional services company, believes that accessing, creating and unlocking talent will continue to be a key force of change across business.
We connected with Renato Scaff, Accenture's Chief Operating Officer in North America, to talk briefly about why inclusion and diversity is critical for business – especially during times of uncertainty. Here are a few excerpts from that conversation:
You're an advocate of diversity in the workforce – why do you think that matters?
Renato: I've always believed that diversity is an asset, especially because I've benefited from diverse experiences throughout my life. I moved around a lot as a child due to my father's work. I lived in Brazil, New York, Paraguay, Toronto, Singapore and Miami – all before turning 16. Being around distinct cultures and people allowed me to gain valuable perspectives and life experiences that shaped my way of thinking and allowed me to unlock unique insights I could bring to the table at work.
It's empowering to know that I work for a company with the same commitment to inclusion and diversity. At Accenture, we know a diverse workforce leads to more robust thinking, new ways of working and more innovation. It drives positive change.
That's a lot of moving around. Aside from showing you diverse perspectives, what else did you take away from that experience?
Renato: I learned to believe in myself. Don't be afraid to complicate your life. Every time you do, you learn new things. I moved to new countries. And every few years at Accenture, I've switched roles. I've been better for it every time. If you're offered something new or considering a new challenge, don't fear. Don't be afraid that it might complicate your life. You will likely end up better for it.
For some people, confidence doesn't come so easily. What do you say to them?
Renato: Some people are naturally timid, and some have anxiety. My advice: don't doubt yourself. Trust that you can complete the task at hand. If you've got a big project, don't start thinking, "Can I do it?" Begin with the mindset of "I am going to do this." Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. Don't tie yourself up with worry. Focus on solving the problem, and making it work. And if it doesn't, don't beat yourself up about it. Tomorrow is a new day.
Do you think diversity is a driving consideration when people look for new jobs?
Definitely. Obviously, people consider pay and benefits and whether it's work they want to do, but they also look at the culture of future employers. Is this a company I want to work at? Is there room for growth? Is this company earning my commute? These are important questions that everyone should be asking themselves.
One thing I think is novel about Accenture is the mindset of leaving our people "net better off" for working at the company. We feel responsible for the holistic well-being of our people and actively seek to earn their trust. It's about creating a culture and spaces where everyone feels valued, seen and heard. That builds trust – and we know people's potential can change when they are sufficiently supported.