Creating Balanced Teams (and Avoiding Groupthink)

by | Mar 8, 2019

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 23 of the Digital Analyt­ics Power Hour team, Noah Omri Levin is the creator and host of Digital Market­ing Life, and Jake Stoops and Jeff Louella run the Page 2 Podcast for SEO.