Creating Balanced Teams (and Avoiding Groupthink)

International Women’s Day in 2019 was on March 8th. In honor of that day, two of the three regular co-hosts of the Digital Analytics Power Hour podcast (the two straight, white, cisgender male ones — both of whom now work at Search Discovery) sat out the episode and handed the mic fully over to their third co-host, Moe Kiss from The Wine Gallery. Moe sat down with Alison Vorsatz, the Enterprise Sales Director at Fairygodboss, and Aubrey Blanche, the Global Head of Diversity & Belonging at Atlassian, to discuss diversity and inclusion.

Except both Alison and Aubrey quickly pointed out why they avoid using the term “diversity.” It turns out when people in the U.S. think about diversity they tend to think “white women and black Americans.” And, as Blanche notes on the show:

“…when you have a word that on its face looks like everybody can be a part of it, but the actual meaning is just this very narrow set of groups, what you end up doing is both disadvantaging folks who are underrepresented who don’t fall into those categories and making people from majority groups think that diversity is not about them, which causes them to not care and disengage.”

That’s actually a pretty profound observation, and it’s why Blanche much prefers to think about “balanced teams,” which are more inclusive and lead to healthier and more productive perspectives and strategies. The benefits of establishing balanced teams are many (which is supported by hard data), and, rather than being primarily motivated by the impact on a specific person or group, the benefits are to the team and the organization as a whole, which is more readily sustainable.

The guests also discussed:

  • Unconscious bias (and why simply training someone about its existence is far from addressing its negative effects)
  • Why affinity/resource groups focused on specific populations within an organization (women, African-Americans, LGBTQ, etc.) are more impactful when they include employees who are not part of that group
  • Why it can be dangerous to judge a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion based solely on the makeup of the board of the directors

And much, much more (there is a killer section where Moe outlines a number of scenarios and asks Vorsatz and Blanche to give one piece of advice to the person at the center of each scenario)! Regardless of your gender, your race, your ethnicity, your sexual orientation, or your role in your organization, this episode is worth a listen! Hop on over and check it out!

Podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular medium, both for content creation and content consumption. Multiple Search Discovery employees have chosen to pursue their interests and enthusiasm for their respective disciplines by creating or co-creating podcasts. While these podcasts are independent initiatives separate from Search Discovery’s corporate efforts, we are proud to have team members who are committed to sharing their expertise and engaging in these discussions. Check them out: Michael Helbling and Tim Wilson are 2/3 of the Digital Analytics Power Hour team, Noah Omri Levin is the creator and host of Digital Marketing Life, and Jake Stoops runs the Page 2 Podcast for SEO.

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