This Week in Business History- Episode 34
“I think that in 2020 we are seeing more of what someone called the misfits. Don’t look for the cultural fit, look for the misfit. That’s going to bring more diversity. It’s going to open your eyes to other things. And it’s hard to be the first or the first couple to do that. But I think in 50 years, we’re going to look back and say that 2020 was a big year, that a lot of that started to change”
In this special episode of This Week in Business History, host Scott W. Luton kicks off a new mini-series, where he interviews business leaders on key developments in 2020 that we’ll be talking about 100 years from now. In this episode, Scott speaks with Dyci Sfregola, Managing Director with New Generation Architects. Dyci shares a variety of observations from 2020, especially around the future of work.
Scott Luton (00:02):
Good morning, Scott Luton with you here on this week in business history, today’s shows a special one in a bit of a departure from what we normally do. I’ll be interviewing a special guest who will be giving us three key business developments that took place in 2023 things that we’ll still be talking about a hundred years from now, we’ll be discussing the future of work, cognitive load, how the empathy movement impacts the need for more change in business and society, and why it’s important to quote, bring your whole self to work in quote all that and a lot more stay tuned for an intriguing conversation right here on this week in businesses.
Scott Luton (00:56):
Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on this edition of this week in business history. Welcome to today’s show on this program, which is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming. We take a look back at the upcoming week, and then we share some of the most relevant events and milestones from years past, of course, mostly business focused with a little dab of global supply chain. And occasionally we might just throw in a good story outside of our primary realm. So I invite you to join me on this. Look back in history to identify some of the most significant leaders, companies innovations, and perhaps lessons learned in our collective business journey. Now let’s dive in to this week in business history.
Scott Luton (01:56):
And one welcome in our very special featured guests here today. We’ve got a wonderful supply chain, professional supply chain leader and entrepreneur that is well-versed in business alignment, cross functional collaboration and digital transformation. She brings a diverse background experience in a variety of sectors, big focus on change management, a graduate of the university of Georgia go dogs, where she was formally named both a UGA amazing student. And when a BTS black girls rock, our host also holds a master’s in engineering management from Kennesaw state university, and she’s managing director for new generation architects, which we’re going a little bit more about and a repeat guest here at splotch in now. So join me in welcoming DC. It’s [inaudible] DC.
Dyci Sfregola (02:43):
Yes. I was actually waiting for you to say that last name because you’re practicing. And I said in my head, he’s going to mess it up. He’s recording when it counts. You did not, you got it right.
Scott Luton (02:57):
It took me three hours of practice. This not kidding aside. I am well-known for butchering names. My family’s names, you name it. Uh, and some, sometimes my tongue and teeth just don’t, don’t play nice together.
Dyci Sfregola (03:09):
It three consonants altogether, and you have to roll the R cycle down, you know, and my husband’s Italian, even Warren Italy sometimes, you know, I’ll hear people say, is that an Italian when he has to spell it?
Scott Luton (03:21):
Well, regardless. Uh, so nice to reconnect with you and your husband, Joseph from a moment ago, uh, really have enjoyed y’all’s earlier visits with us, your husband, amongst other things as a talented musician. We’ve enjoyed that on last stream, but today we’re not only going to get know a little bit better, but also we’re going to pick your brain on three of the biggest important business developments from three of the most important business elements from where you sit for the tough year that that was 2020, but first let’s get to know you a little bit better nutshell. So tell us about new generation architects and a little about yourself.
Dyci Sfregola (03:57):
Yes. Um, so as you mentioned, I am a supply chain professional and I fell into supply chain through logistics. So I was actually doing sales for a small three PL well, the three PL was large, but the businesses, um, the customers were focused on small and medium businesses. So got my, um, my first taste of supply chain from the logistics, the operational side. And as I was going back to school for initial engineering and then pursuing my masters, um, the whole supply chain piece was just very, very interesting. Um, I think it fit perfectly with my personality and just the things that I’m naturally good at. Um, I’m a people person, but I also am very good at like prioritizing and multitasking and I get bored easily. So, um, I think there is a, I think there’s a podcast or something called supply chain is boring, which we all know is not true.
Dyci Sfregola (05:02):
Um, so it’s actually been the perfect, um, it’s been the perfect field for me and what I’ve learned in doing, um, just kind of coming into supply chain from the technology perspective of implementations, and then also being in the, I not going to say digital transformation and the technology driven business transformation, um, side of things I have really learned and truly become truly come to believe that business, all business decisions at some point manifest themselves in the supply chain. Um, so everything is connected. There are still, you know, I still talk to the clients. Um, over the years before I started new gen architects, I would sit in, um, you know, meetings and scope beans and, um, just having with different professionals across the business. And I just really started to understand how, um, there’s still a lot of silos, not only within the supply chain, but within the entire organization.
Dyci Sfregola (06:10):
Um, and how that cross-functional collaboration that you’ve mentioned is really the key to achieving business excellence and strategic goals. And that can’t happen without the supply chain without supply chain excellence. I just don’t think you can achieve strategic goals at all in any type of any type of way. So I’m biased, you know, I’m, I’m definitely open to having the debate. Um, but that’s what I believe in. That’s what we, um, that’s what we preach at, you know, Nugent architects. When we talk to companies, it’s, we, we start with the supply chain as it’s the heart of the business and the technology implementation implementations. There are really starting to reveal the opportunities and the challenges that a lot of organizations have. So we start at the supply chain to help organizations really achieve business transformation.
Scott Luton (07:06):
Love it. Uh, uh, and I’m sure you are staying really busy. I think as we were arranging this interview, uh, you, you’ve got several full plates, which is exciting,
Dyci Sfregola (07:15):
Uh, entrepreneurial great
Scott Luton (07:16):
Sounds like you’re hitting the ground running, which we’re not surprised at all. So we’ll have to bring you back on for maybe a mid-year update.
Dyci Sfregola (07:23):
Yes. You know, it’s funny. Um, when I started this company, I said, Oh, I’m going to start my own company because I want to work less. I want to make my own hours. So I am definitely making my own hours. I’m not working less. And you as an entrepreneur know that that was very naive of me, but it’s very rewarding. It’s very rewarding. It’s very fun. Um, I love my clients. I love my team members. Um, I love what I do. So it’s been very fun. Um, it’s a good, exhausted, because it’s also, you know, motherhood during COVID. I’ve got, I’ve got little Alessandro in my arms right now, so I’m sure at some point he’ll wake up, um, and hopefully he will be quiet enough so that we can continue our conversation.
Scott Luton (08:06):
We look forward to seeing Alessandra as well. So you’re definitely a lot, a lot of things you’re balancing and, and, and, you know, in a pandemic year or a non pink demic year, it, it’s never easy, but I’m so excited for you in this entrepreneurial journey and looking forward to, to track and all the big wins and, and all the change you’re driving you and an organization. So, so let’s, let’s switch gears over to the year that was 2020. And you know, this, this interview here is going to be the first of a series where we’re going to be picking the brains of some of our trusted and well-informed members of our network. And, you know, we’ve been sharing with the market for a while now. What’s, what’s important to us what sticks out to us, but really DC, I’d love for you to walk us through maybe three things that took place like business developments, um, news stories, uh, that took place in 2020 that you believe were going to be talking about. And then we’ll still be really significant and say 50, even a hundred years from now. So what, what’s the first one that comes to your mind?
Dyci Sfregola (09:05):
Um, you know, it’s funny when you first asked me that, or, you know, first say, this is what we’re going to talk about. The first thing that came to my mind was an article from the BBC that I read about cognitive load theory. And it was talking about our, um, I think the tagline was fight for focus. So, you know, people are in zoom meetings, they are, you know, at home, kids are doing zoom school also. Uh, so just the cognitive load of everything going on and why you might feel like you’re not able to focus and you’re not productive. So that’s the first thing that came to my mind. The second thing was, um, you know, black lives matter movement, a anti-racism within businesses. Um, and the also, uh, on the supply chain side specifically, you know, pushing more women leaders in supply chain, um, there were like the, the women in supply chain awards, this, uh, that are when to 2020.
Dyci Sfregola (10:07):
So we’re in January, um, a couple of months ago, but what that kind of got me thinking, um, and this probably just goes back to my innate, you know, people nature again, like as I’m a people person, um, I speak multiple languages. I actually have a friend, um, that is a psychologist. And he came up with his own personality test. I was one of his Guinea pigs, and he told me, you, he said, you travel a lot and you want to learn these languages because you want to be able to communicate and connect with the largest amount of people possible. Um, which probably also lends greatly to, you know, me loving consulting because it’s different clients. It’s a lot of different people that team members are all different, lots of different perspectives. Um, but what I think about in terms of business perspective, kind of an umbrella cognitive load theory, anti-racism, women’s equal pay, you know, women in leadership, all of that for me falls under kind of the future of work.
Dyci Sfregola (11:12):
And I think it’s very relevant that, you know, in 50 years or a hundred years, they’re going to be looking back at 2020 and really analyzing how work changed, you know, how we started to go more toward being work from home or more flexibility. Um, the nine to five, you know, how we look back and we study, um, you know, how work changed. And women went into the workplace when there was the world war and how things changed during the depression. Um, the way we work is studied. And I think that that is very relevant and will be something that, you know, people hundreds of years from now look back and say in 2020, look how much changed and look at what the catalyst was. Um, so I, I missed that
Scott Luton (12:06):
Question really quick. See if I can, um, given kind of the umbrella being that future work and your first thing is cognitive load, second things kind of future work. And there’s a bunch of things you named under the umbrella. Do you believe here as now, we’re working more, as we all know, they’ve shut down a lot of offices. You know, some technology firms have shut down over a hundred offices globally and they, they’re not going back to your point. It’s, it’s a permanent shift in so many ways, not for everybody, but for many, there also seems to be hopefully in 2020 generalization here, it’s a little more empathy, you know, w uh, we, I was talking earlier today on a remote interview, someone was warning me about their dog. That’s going to come in anytime now. And, and a wonderful development that has been embraced more like, you know, like never before, do you believe, you know, going to black lives matter, anti-racism, uh, the work we’ve got to do with equal opportunity equal pay for women, you know, th these really these issues that we’ve got to make some more traction on. Do you believe that some of the empathy that we’ve seen generally is going to help us make progress in those areas? Or do you think it’s more challenging and it’s remote environment to, to drive change in those areas?
Dyci Sfregola (13:20):
Um, I absolutely think, and this might be optimist idealist in me. Um, but I absolutely think, and that’s actually where I was going, um, with bringing your whole self to work. And I think that part of bringing your whole self to work and everyone bringing their whole self to work is the empathy piece. Um, and I, I have gotten so many compliments and messages from client resources, just from people who have, you know, seen me as a guest here on supply chain. Now whenever little Alessandra is around, um, you know, Oh my goodness. Like, it’s so great to see, you know, a black woman, so great to see a mom. It’s so great to see that you are having so much success. And that, that means that I too, so representation, um, as part of being, you know, future of work, I think that all of it is very interconnected, even though we might not see that.
Dyci Sfregola (14:20):
So the empathy piece is absolutely gonna stay. Um, I, I think that even the people who were sticklers for, we must be professional. You can not talk about that. This cannot happen. Like, you know, you must do. I even think that they’re, you know, eventually gonna get worn down. Um, and, and I mean, there are absolutely people who, you know, say this is, this is not the way it should be. I was reading, um, you know, a woman was saying that she, um, she got in trouble for having, um, I think maybe she was like, she was, um, how do I say it? I don’t want to say a risk was slapped. Um, but her boss made, yeah, her boss made a mention that while she was on camera, her hair wasn’t necessarily, you know, what he would have expected it to be really. So, so it’s just, it’s one of those things that you’re always going to have those people you’re always going to have those people, but in the grander scheme of a general movement toward more humanity at work, I absolutely think that that is part of the future of work.
Dyci Sfregola (15:31):
And I think that that’s one of the points that people are going to look back and say, you know, in 2020 people are at home with their kids and their barking dogs and their cats walking across the keyboard and the plumber coming and the doorbell ringing. And what happened is that work kept going, kept going, like businesses kept making like the world moved on, nothing happened and people didn’t go back to, you know, being afraid to be who they are at work, which I think is going to be great for, again, women minorities, underrepresented populations within the workplace, because there’s always been that. Um, and I speak from personal experience. You can read, of course, other studies have anecdotal data as a parent. There’s always that unspoken or has been, you know, that unspoken pressure of I can’t be here, but I shouldn’t say it’s because I have to pick up my kids, or I shouldn’t say it’s because my kid is sick because they’re going to think that I’m not dedicated to work.
Dyci Sfregola (16:39):
Um, or as a black woman, I shouldn’t, you know, I probably have different, different tastes and I want to do different things and I have to go along with whatever everyone else or, you know, the greater population the majority at work is doing. And I think that in 2020 we are seeing more, or we saw a more push for, um, I think I even saw someone call it the misfits. Don’t look for the cultural fit, look for the misfit, right? That’s going to bring more diversity. It’s going to open your eyes to other things. And, you know, it’s hard to be the first or the first couple to do that. But I think in, you know, 50 years, we’re going to look back and say that 2020 was a big year, that a lot of that started to change
Scott Luton (17:28):
So much that you shared there. I’d love to dive in and, and, and have a three or four hour conversation. And it’s, it’s intriguing as you described it. Clearly, you’re, you’re studying business history. Uh, you’re a student. I know you, you’re talking about that assessment that your psychologist friend did, and he loved to be around people, but clearly you’re studying people and studying businesses. And I love to hear those. All right. So if cognitive load was the first one, second one kind of future of work, did you have a third?
Dyci Sfregola (17:56):
Yeah, I would say, um, the technology, uh, and I don’t, who did I, Oh, what did, what was it called? It just came to mind right now. Cause otherwise I would have looked it up, but whatever comes after industry 4.0, um, and it wasn’t industry 5.0 or maybe it was with the COVID disruption and manufacturers. You mentioned, um, essential workers, or you mentioned everyone not being able to work from home. Right. Manufacturers and other, other essential workers. So hospitals, healthcare, the technology acceleration there. Um, so a lot of companies have been, you know, putting it off or it was on the radar, but this is now, you know, that COVID disruption made it a turning point for technology adoption because they had to understand how do we keep the factory running? How do we, I mean, supply chain was everywhere, everywhere, and still is. Um, and manufacturing is part of that.
Dyci Sfregola (19:08):
How do we keep up with demand? How do we distribute? How do we, you know, keep there was even, I remember the article about the truck drivers having to get stuff from point a to point B, but all the restaurants were closed and they go, where do we eat? Right. Or, you know, people being afraid to, you know, open in ha you know, feed them. So it became a, uh, point of survival to adopt technology and to understand all of your points of your supply chain, your manufacturing, your distribution, your planning. Um, and it was definitely something that was talked about again. I mean, I’ve been in the technology space for a supply chain. Um, I’ve done production planning, use cases for a couple of years now, but 2020 was really the year that put it on the map and on the radar for everyone, you know, people who had no idea what the word supply chain meant, or, you know, anything like that, like it was manufacturing, supply chain, the toilet paper, you know, um, that it definitely put the whatever is after industry 4.0, giving it accelerated that absolutely.
Scott Luton (20:26):
As you described that, what comes to my mind is, um, you know, systems level thinking it’s been around forever, but as you describe the ecosystem that allows supply chain or retail or even health care to happen, right. Um, the truck driving example is a great one because as we’ve seen time and time, again, especially in the, in the, in the bigger lockdown periods, um, as, as different counties have different rules, different States have different rules. Of course, trucks are going to driving across to all of that. And they had to react differently based on what that local regulatory agency was putting in place. And, uh, there’s so many different takeaways there for greater supply chain, being able to look upstream and downstream and know that, you know, you, what you do here is going to have that ripple effect. And, and that was certainly alive and well in 2020.
Dyci Sfregola (21:15):
Yes. The supply network versus supply chain. I think I saw that a lot in 2020, um, ASC, um, came out with their digital capabilities model, which I love because very quickly you click it and you see, you know, supplier collaboration. And if you embark on that, uh, you know, uh, a project on that journey, then what is, you know, all of the other pieces that are connected there. Um, so that was definitely, uh, supply network was a buzz word, at least, you know, I dunno for everyone in my network,
Scott Luton (21:51):
There is Alejandro, how are you is he’s awake? And,
Dyci Sfregola (21:56):
Um, I think he’s trying to figure it out. He’s trying to figure out if he’s going to wake up for nut. Um, it’s good to have those options, isn’t it? Yeah. I miss those. I wish I wish, you know, I started at seven 30 today and I told my husband, well, I had my first meeting at seven 30 today and yesterday I told my husband, Oh, I’m starting late tomorrow.
Scott Luton (22:19):
Hey, um, let’s wrap so much there. I appreciate you sharing, you know, three, um, three things that really stood out to you. Trends, areas, concerns, developments. I tend to agree with you on all three of those things, that cognitive load in and of itself, just here recently, we had a zoom call with, um, a partner of ours and we just decided to leave the video off, you know, just have a good old fashioned conference call. And it was almost like a, a breath of fresh air, but nonetheless, how can folks connect with you? We’ll make sure DCR listeners can connect with you and all the cool things you’re doing at a new generation architects.
Dyci Sfregola (22:54):
Yes. Um, you can find me on LinkedIn, DC and DC mans. I, I keep my maiden name up there also because it’s easier than Sprigle up. So if you search DC mans, um, you’ll find me and, uh, new gen architects, um, is the business page. So, um, it doesn’t go directly to me, but the message will get filtered or not. Filtered will get passed on to me. It’s also firstname.lastname@example.org, just my first name. And I, um, will reply. I always reply. Well, that’s not true. I try to reply. I took that back and very quickly, I don’t always reply, but I do make it a point to try to reply. Um, and you know, cognitive load and focus, fight for focus. Um, I just recently, you know, said to myself, you can’t reply to everyone as soon as they send you a message. It is okay to wait until you have the mental capacity and a clear mind to send a coherent message back to this person.
Scott Luton (24:03):
I like that. I think pausing and, and, and, you know, finding, finding some time to re to reply and respond, not just to people, but all things, you know, at the right time when you’ve had a chance to, to think about it. And, and to your point, give a measured response. Uh, so I love that. And I also love it before we even went live here today. Uh, one of your goals this weekend was to find, find some time to disconnect, right? Yes. And we’ll look forward to reconnecting with you again real soon. Thanks so much for your time.
Dyci Sfregola (24:34):
Yes, absolutely. It’s always great talking to you, Scott.
Scott Luton (24:37):
Sure. Our audience, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this conversation here with DC. It’s fray Gullah, and make sure you check out we’re going to have her LinkedIn profile on the show notes. We’ll have a link to her or her organization, her new venture on the show notes as well. And as she mentioned, reach out to her, especially on LinkedIn. Uh she’ll in due time, she’ll get back to you, but Hey, hopefully you also enjoyed what she talked about in terms of some of the key takeaways in 2020, that we’re gonna be talking about 50 years, a hundred years, maybe a thousand years from now, who knows, but regardless, uh, tell us what your observations are. You can reach email@example.com and let us know what you’re thinking on behalf of our entire entire team here. Scott Luton signing off challenging you. Like we always challenge all of our team members here every single day. Do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed on that note. We’ll see you next time here on this week in business history. Thanks. Bye-bye.
Dyci Sfregola is a Supply Chain professional well-versed in organizational and departmental alignment and cross-functional collaboration. She is knowledgeable in digital transformation including business process and technology maturity/readiness assessments and organizational change management & user adoption. She has direct industry experience in sales and marketing, logistics and transportation and holds a certification as a Certified Supply Chain Professional from APICS/ASCM. Dyci is also a certified Anaplan Model Builder and trainer. Her technical experience spans several tools including Anaplan, Kinaxis and Salesforce. Her diverse background and focus on change management and process helps clients realize ROI of their technology transformation efforts.
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