Episode 75 – TyAnn Osborn | Micro-messages & being an ally

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In this episode I chat with TyAnn Osborn, a Gallup-certified Strengths coach and trainer, whose passion is creating positive cultures and making the complex, simple. Using Strengths-based training, she transforms workspaces and teams to be more productive, authentic and stronger relationship builders.

TyAnn inspired me to have her on the podcast again (she was on episode 24, which you can find here) after publishing an article on LinkedIn on micro-agressions. In the article, Ty vulnerably shares her experiences over the years micro-messages and micro-agressions. The article has received plenty of positive feedback (which it should), as it has inspired others to talk about their experiences and help people understand the impact of these behaviours.
In this conversation, we certainly cover some ground, including some of TyAnn’s personal experiences and in the workplace, and how that contributes to your sense of belonging and identity. We also delve into the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., the realisation of privilege and what that means, along with how you can be a more impactful ally.
Key episode highlights include:
  • Have you asked someone how do you feel lately? Allow individuals to tell you what they need from you.
  • Your words matter, every conversation is an opportunity to influence the culture. So what words are you using?
  • Reframe your language from what you HAVE to do, to what do you GET to do.
  • Always be mindful of what conscious actions you can take when showing up.
  • Take the time to reach out to the leaders that have inspired and supported you.
The best place to connect with TyAnn is via LinkedIn or her website. Read TyAnn’s article on Micro-Aggression here.

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Murray Guest  00:01

Ty, I’m ready to continue the conversation we were just having before we even hit record. I am so, so excited. So I’m actually full of energy thinking about connecting with you today. We were chatting before I hit record about voting. It is October 2020. It’s on, it’s on everywhere right now I can imagine I’m hearing it in my part of the world so in America I’m sure it’s everywhere at the moment. I was actually talking to someone yesterday, they said they’re getting text messages. They’re getting emails, go vote, go vote.


TyAnn Osborn  00:35

It’s crazy. I mean, if you turn on the television, that’s, that’s all there is. If, if anyone is still on Facebook, I got off. That’s all there is, is all the things. And I don’t know if it’s the same where you are Murray, but we have sort of Super Tuesday in November is the big voting day. But leading up to that is early voting. And so it varies by state. And so every state is a little bit different. But there’s this whole early voting period. So for us it just in Texas, it just kicked off this week. But for various other friends of ours, it’s starting about now. Do you have the same thing?


Murray Guest  01:15

So you can do absentee voting and mail in voting in Australia, depending on where you are, you know, you might be away on on the day when we go to the polls. For those American listeners, so a big difference between here and over there is it’s compulsory to vote down here. So if you don’t vote, you can get fined. So once you turn 18, you need to register to vote and you can get that fine. So you have to vote. The second big difference is our voting days, whether it’s local, state or federal elections is on a Saturday.


TyAnn Osborn  01:49

Oh, well, that’s convenient.


Murray Guest  01:50

Yeah, they’re always on a Saturday, which I think makes it easier for everyone to get to the polls as well. So the other thing is, we always seem to have like a charity sausage sandwich at the polling booth. So whenever I smell like barbecued sausages, it’s like it’s time to vote. Do I need to vote, like someone might be cooking sausages in the neighborhood is like, Oh, is it voting time? Because it’s that thing.


TyAnn Osborn  02:15

Once again I think the Aussies are onto something. So you guys make a party of everything. Right? Maybe if we gave away sausage sandwiches we would have better turnout. But you know, it’s kind of funny in America, the right to vote is a very big deal. And so people very much want the right to vote. But in in wanting the freedom, they don’t always exercise the freedom, which is always kind of one of those paradoxes. But what’s interesting right now is we’re having massive turnout in this early voting, we’re having record turnout so far. So we will continue to see if this if this goes you know how this plays out. And it’s kind of interesting, depending on which party you are, you know, affiliated with, one party really likes to have more voter turnout than the other. And which is sort of makes my head explode too. Because you would think everyone should turn out to vote, right?


Murray Guest  03:14

Yeah, so what what they elected to do, to represent the people?


TyAnn Osborn  03:18

No Murray [laughs]. And then let’s make it even more difficult. Let’s put it on a Tuesday, when people are trying to work and then let’s not give people time off to go vote, let’s make it very difficult. And so, so yesterday, the good news, if you vote early, you can go to the the places you can go it’s usually you’re not bound by a certain precinct. Whereas if you go vote on the voting day, you have to go to a very specific place, which is usually not very convenient. And there’s a line you know, down the block and that kind of thing. So, being in Texas in a small town, one of our voting places yesterday was the rodeo arena. So that’s where I went. So standing in line with, you know, on the dirt and everything, and there was this mom in front of me with these two little boys. And one of them who was about five years old, you could tell he wanted to be anywhere else than standing in a line, you know, it’s hot still, and everyone had their mask on and everything. And he was eating a bag of snacks that he promptly turned upside down and all the snacks fell into the dirt.


Murray Guest  04:22

Poor thing. There’s no five second rule in the rodeo. It’s not like you pick them up out of the dirt and eat those.


TyAnn Osborn  04:32

You know, the mom was horrified and the little boy he was he was gonna pick them up out of the dirt and eat them and we were all watching this interaction play out right. And the mom was saying no, no, his name was Waylon. It was really cute and she was like no Waylon don’t don’t do that. And so she grabs them up and she runs and puts them in the in the bin and Waylon just he proceeds to lose it and of course, being the mom now I reached into my bag and I had a granola bar and gave it to him and saved the day. So..


Murray Guest  05:04

It’s amazing, I’m sure, what mums keep in their handbags. It’s like, first aid kid, there’s tissues, there’s granola bars, you know, there’s all in there. It’s ready to go.


TyAnn Osborn  05:16

Whatever you need, we could probably avert nuclear disaster. There’s probably a change of clothes.


Murray Guest  05:23

Before we move on, I just need to check in this lineup of people wanting to vote, how many were wearing cowboy hats? Or had big belt buckles? I’m just picturing this sort of procession there.


TyAnn Osborn  05:37

Should have taken a photo. Obviously, I had my hat on. Well, um, to be fair, you know, even though it’s October, and getting, you know, mid October, it’s still really warm here. And it was kind of unseasonably warm, it was like, still 90 degrees here. So had it been a little cooler, you actually would have seen more jeans with the big belt buckles. So most people were still in shorts, with more of a baseball cap on, as opposed to like the big cowboy hat and boots and jeans.


Murray Guest  06:08

So the picture in my mind, you’ve let me down there.


TyAnn Osborn  06:11

I’m sorry, it was more of a function of heat, rather than anything else. Sorry!


Murray Guest  06:20

Well, I’m glad you voted. I think everyone should get the opportunity to vote, well done for getting it done early. So as you said, you don’t have to, you know, line up for too long when it when it’s time and thanks for sharing. I mean, I hope Waylon’s okay, would’ve been a tough moment, you know, having to line up to vote and dropping snacks as well.


TyAnn Osborn  06:39

Get their dirt snacks, but you know, I had the granola bar, and the significance in me, I wore my ‘I voted’ sticker probably around the rest of the day. Yeah, well, it’s good. And we’ll see what happens. You know, I really hope that people exercise the right that they have in this country and get out there. And, you know.


Murray Guest  07:02

Well, that’s it, that raises a very good point, because unfortunately, there are countries in the world where you can’t vote. And voting is much harder. And there’s, you know, regimes in place. So you’re right, if you have that, that vote, that opportunity, exercise it.


TyAnn Osborn  07:20

You know, one of the things that especially raising two girls, and you know, I’m always big on language in the house, because as our friend, Doug Bacon always says, words matter, right? And so we we like to say instead of ‘I have to’, we like to say ‘I get to’, so I get to vote, because there’s people in the world who are dying literally for the right to vote.


Murray Guest  07:43

Yeah, that’s a really good point.


TyAnn Osborn  07:45

Yeah, so same thing, too. I get to go to school today, because other people in the world don’t get to go to school today.


Murray Guest  07:51

Yeah. And to be honest, I’ve heard that and you’ve reminded me of it from the past, where even framing up your to do list, no matter what you’re doing, as a leader, team member, at home, I get to do the things, I get to have conversations with people, I get to, you know, work on a project, you know, it does change our mindset, doesn’t it?


TyAnn Osborn  08:09

Yeah. And I’m not saying every day is like, I get to ride my unicorn around. I mean, it is work. Right. But just that mental switch can, you know, it’s amazing how just, I think it goes back to kind of that gratitude practice. You know what I do, I get to be in service of other people today, or I get to go to the grocery store today.


Murray Guest  08:31

Yeah, yeah, no, I thank you. And I appreciate you bringing that up. And for anyone listening, think about those ways we describe our day to ourself, because as Ty just said, words matter. And the way that we all train our brain to see our life and the things that are going on. And to be honest, that’s a great segue to what we’re talking about more deeply today. And language, as you said, is important. And words matter. And the reason we are having this conversation, not just because you’re an awesome person, I love chatting to you. And, and I’m thinking we could chat for hours today. But you know, we have a bit of time. So you you had an article on LinkedIn a little while ago around microaggressions. And how you can be an ally. And it really connected with me. I thought it was inspiring. I thought it was vulnerable. I thought it was it was much needed right now in the year of 2020. And what’s been happening, it’s unfortunate it’s needed.


TyAnn Osborn  09:31

Yeah, but thank you so much for reaching out. Muray, that means so much to me that you did that. Thank you.


Murray Guest  09:37

Oh, well, I it touched me and I shared it straightaway with my wife Tammy and she passed on to a few people and I’ve shared it with clients because the courage you showed in sharing some of your experiences over the years, and impact that they made that creates a space for others to also share and understand what that means. So I think to help people understand what we’re talking about when we say micro aggressions, and micro messages, what are we talking about?


TyAnn Osborn  10:09

Well, sure, so to back up a little step, and this was the book and the, the gentleman who kind of got it kicked off for me, his name is Steven Young. And he’s got this book called Micro Messaging. And so I got a chance to meet him a number of years ago. And the just the term micro messaging in and of itself doesn’t have to be negative, but it is all the little things that happen, which basically serves to either reinforce that I’m a part of the club, or I’m not. And these are just little things that say we were not in a global pandemic, and I actually got to see see you in person, right. And if I saw you, say we were at a strengths summit, for example, and if I saw you, I would run up to you, and I would give you a big hug, and you know, there would be all kinds of joy, it would be great. But there might be somebody standing next to you that I didn’t know, who might be thinking, Oh, you know, I didn’t get a hug what, what’s kind of going on… And I might have zero intention of making them feel left out. I mean, it’s nothing I, it’s just because I love you so much. I have no intention of sliding them in the least. But that might be a little micro message that they get, which says ‘I’m not part of’. And so we can think about all these little messages that happen. And they happen from a very young age, and they just kind of get compounded and compounded and compounded. And then you can imagine if you layer on all the different things about sort of gender and race and all the other things on top of it, which serve to reinforce you’re part of the group or you’re not part of the group.


Murray Guest  12:02

Yeah. And so you’re making me think about something I shared with the team was working with earlier this week. And we’re talking about how, as humans, we perceived social threats like physical threats.


TyAnn Osborn  12:14

Absolutely. We’re hardwired that way.


Murray Guest  12:16

Yeah, we’re hardwired that way. So those same parts of the brain light up when I’m socially threatened as I’m physically threatened the fight or flight kicks in, right? And we’re not just talking big threats, it’s those little threats that, I’m thinking about that, and I think the important part, also, with that example, is with zero intent.


TyAnn Osborn  12:37

That’s it. And, and the person who’s on the receiving end, they don’t know. They don’t know your intent, right? So they’re interpreting what’s happening to them. And so they’re they’re reading into that, well, Ty didn’t give me a hug. She must not like me, she must not like me, because I am fill in the blank. She doesn’t like me, because I’m old, young, I’m not her same race, I’m not her gender, whatever it is. And meanwhile, this person literally might not even be in my frame of view. You know.


Murray Guest  13:16

Yeah. And as as meaning making machines.


TyAnn Osborn  13:20

That’s what our human brain wants to do. It wants to create meaning. And so our brain has this gorgeous and sometimes completely unhelpful thing that it does, which is try to connect the dots, right?


Murray Guest  13:36

In a split second too like, it’s an Ohh that’s what that means. I’ve just created a whole story based on that action or those words, it means this.


TyAnn Osborn  13:46

Right. Which is both brilliant and can be amazing and can be also wildly wrong. And so that is kind of the micro messaging. And at its core, it can be very neutral, it can be positive or negative. And then micro aggressions really are taking that to a negative place. And taking that to a place that it is based on those other factors, which really are meant to kind of cut you down a little bit, put you in your place a little bit.


Murray Guest  14:21

Yeah. And I think unfortunately, there are some well, I’ll say some, but unfortunately, many instances where those messages and aggressions can be more conscious.


TyAnn Osborn  14:34

Yeah, for sure. But I mean, all of it to say, for whatever reason, I’m in the group and you’re not and I’d like to remind you of that.


Murray Guest  14:44

Yeah. Do you feel safe, trusted, included, part of the group, or do you not and do you feel excluded? And the impact of that can be, well, actually, what’s your thoughts? What do you think is the impact? And what did you read about there? And what have you experienced? What’s the impact of these messages?


TyAnn Osborn  15:05

Yeah, I’ll tell you my personal impact. And then what the research would say is, I mean, the research says that, you know, people who are victims of this, it’s obviously disproportionate for, you know, women and minorities, and then people who are affected by this are exponentially more likely to have mental health issues, you know, have an increased rates of suicide, you know, obviously, much lower performance at work, you see disparities in pay, I mean, you see all the negative, you know, reactions there. And then when I think about the things that I’ve been through, I think kind of the, the best line I have to sum it up is when I was writing my article, and I was getting some feedback on it from different people I trusted, I would say, a white male peer of mine, who I worked with for a number of years, he said, I had no idea that this was going on, I was just going to work and getting ahead. I had no idea you were going through this. And I was like, that’s it. That’s it, like that’s what’s happening. I was dealing with this. And here’s someone who is absolutely my peer in every way, was dealing with none of this. He was going to work and getting ahead.


Murray Guest  16:30

Is there some resilience that you think you’ve developed through your experiences? So is there some positive positivity you can take from some of those, you know, messaging and aggressions you have experienced over the years?


TyAnn Osborn  16:43

Um yeah, I think so. I mean, I think anytime you go through something like that, you kind of, you know, you got to go through it. And, you know, it makes you, if you come out the other side, it makes you a stronger person, anytime we go through something, right. Any kind of trauma. And I think that was kind of part of the reason for, you know, writing and talking about this stuff was well, you can either become really well, you can be in denial, for sure. You can become just really angry and bitter about it, or what do I do with this? Well, okay, can I put my message out there and see if it helps somebody. And I think that’s, that’s really where the genesis was. So I was having this conversation with my friend, Yolanda, who’s an African American, also human resource professional, somebody who has been my peer, for a number of years, and we have worked closely together, I have huge respect for her. And she and I talk all the time. And so we were talking about all of the different things that have happened in the States, obviously, I mean, it’s gotten worldwide attention. And she said, Where are my white friends? Where, where are my white friends, how come they’re not standing up as my ally? And, you know, Murray, when she said that I like I didn’t know what to do with that.


Murray Guest  18:09

Yeah, wow.


TyAnn Osborn  18:12

I mean, gosh, like, what a huge statement, right? And I was like, man there’s a lot. There’s a lot and like, I didn’t even know where to begin saying, and, but there was a big part of me that was like, I, I don’t I don’t know what to say. And it feels very like, can I say something? Is that okay to say something? Should I say something? Kind of feels like I’m the last person who should say something.


Murray Guest  18:43

Yeah. And from your article and the relationship you have with Yolanda, it sounds to me and tell me if this is what happened. She was able to give you some guidance, she was able to say, Hey, this is what an ally looks like, this is what you can do. This is what will help. Yeah? I think because that’s what maybe instead of us saying, I don’t know – and I say us as white people – but what can I do? Ask the question. How can I help?


TyAnn Osborn  19:09

Yeah. And so that was it. That was it. So you got to crack the door open. So I think a, doing nothing is not an option. It was probably never an option, but it is not an option going forward. And if you don’t know what to do, ask. These are things I’m learning, you know, takes me a while Murray, but these are things I’m learning. If you don’t know what to do, ask what to do. It is never appropriate to say, Well, here’s what I think black people should do. You should never say something like that. That would be incredibly offensive. But what you can say is, here’s what my experience has been, how can I best help you? What would you like from me? How can I show up for you? You can ask questions like that, and I was just listening to a seminar yesterday and the person said, you know, a great thing to say is, I am probably not going to get this right but I would like to try.


Murray Guest  20:12

Yeah. And I love that, I feel that when you say that, and what I feel is, you know, us taking, us as people as humans, when we communicate, taking the time to frame up and be vulnerable. And to provide some context and saying, I don’t know, but I’m willing to try and willing to learn.


TyAnn Osborn  20:31

Yeah. And so for me, I had to ask, you know, what, what does that mean to be your ally? Like, what? What does that look like? And we had to get pretty granular about, does that mean like making a political statement on Facebook? Is that what you mean? Because if so, I have zero comfort in that. Zero. I mean, like, I have zero comfort being on Facebook at all. Like, that is not my love language.


Murray Guest  20:58

That’s, that’s for our next conversation.


TyAnn Osborn  21:00

Right. I mean, if you were Charlotte Blair, God bless you. She is Miss Facebook, right?


Murray Guest  21:06



TyAnn Osborn  21:08

So that is her love language that is not mine. And so I just said, if that’s what being an ally to you means is having this big Facebook, outspoken presence that I am probably always going to let you down in that way. So that doesn’t feel authentic to me. What does feel authentic to me is I can write, I can write, I can write a post, I can talk about my experience. And so we started just having conversations like that. And I offered, I said, I would love for you to write and, and you can have my platform. And so that we’re doing that, she’s putting together a post right now, and I’m gonna put it out on my platform. 


Murray Guest  21:47

I saw that in the last couple of months on Instagram, where some celebrities had let other minority groups, African American women, you know, post on their platform for a period of time, which is fantastic. Like, hey leverage my audience to to support you and get your message out, which is Yeah, so that’s that, I think..


TyAnn Osborn  22:10

So that’s a thing.


Murray Guest  22:11

Yeah. And I, what I’m hearing here is have the conversation because what one person needs and another person needs could be quite different. It’s about seeking to understand and exploring what that is.


TyAnn Osborn  22:22

So that was something and she was saying too like, when, you know, because it just seems like there’s I mean, every day, there’s a new one of these stories coming out about if it’s George Floyd or Briana Taylor, or all of these things, she said, Ask me when those things happen, call me or text me and ask me how I feel. And I thought, Oh, man, it never would have occurred to me Murray to pick up the phone when I hear that stuff on the news. And, and, and then I thought, why wouldn’t it have occurred to me anyway, then I had this whole, like, mental game going on. But I’m like, I’m so glad she said that. Because then I know what she needs. You know?


Murray Guest  23:06

Yeah. And, and again, me hoping to understand here. I can imagine when those absolutely terrible things happen, that there’s some triggering that happens, that people are thinking about previous experiences, or what if that was someone I knew? Or what if that is someone I loved or whatever it might be. All of those things are coming up for them. And it’s about Okay, so I’m here to support you, I’m going to reach out and check.


TyAnn Osborn  23:33

Right? So it’s just like, if we hadn’t had that conversation, I never would have, that just wouldn’t have organically occurred to me to do that. You know? And, and I love her, and she’s a great friend, but that wouldn’t have occurred to me. And so. So all that kind of stuff, you know, was such a great conversation, and I think to this conversation about privilege, and I’ll tell you, and this is gonna sound like the whitest thing to ever say, but I think if you would have told me and I again, like, let’s have these conversations, right? If you would have said, like you were such a privileged person, if you would have said that to me a few years ago, I don’t think I ever, I never would have connected the dots. I wouldn’t have understood what that meant. And so being able to have those conversations now and to see it and think, oh, that’s what that means. And then, okay, what do I do with that?


Murray Guest  24:32

Yeah. And I think, well I think as I don’t know, but I think that there’s more of those conversations and awareness happening this year, which is great, but we are far from having enough of those. I know in our house, Tammy and I have been talking about that a lot this year. What does that look like and just having that awareness and because I think in the past or maybe prior for myself, as well as like our privilege is this living in this mansion with, you know, million dollars of blah, blah, blah, and all this stuff, but it’s not it’s it’s actually do you get opportunity in the easiest way day in day out?


TyAnn Osborn  25:12

Right? I mean, because that’s what it seems to me like, Oh, well your life is so privileged. I’m like, Well, I’m not sitting back here printing cash and you know, just taking a bath in my money all day. I mean, right? So that’s kind of what I was thinking. But so here was an example of something that happened. So I was driving, and I got pulled over. And which doesn’t happen very often. And I was kind of I was a little bit freaked out, like, what’s going on? I wasn’t speeding. I got pulled over. And the police officer said, you have a headlight that’s out. And I wasn’t aware of it. And I thought, Oh, okay. And it wasn’t until that whole interaction was over, Murray, that I thought somebody else could have lost their life because of that interaction. Something that, you know, even at the time, I was more upset just because it was an inconvenience for me. And I was like, Oh, crap, now I’m gonna have to go by the auto parts store. And you know, how dare my headlight go out because now that, you know, it’s an inconvenience for me, I’m gonna have to stop by the auto parts store. And just that for somebody else that could have been a life ending event.


Murray Guest  26:31

Yeah. And I can hear it and I can feel it right now around that simple interaction that no one should be in any situation where their life is at risk, their well being is at risk because of a routine hey your headlights out. But yeah, like you’re you’re exactly saying, unfortunately, that’s what has happened. Yeah.


TyAnn Osborn  26:56

Right. Right. And so being aware of that kind of was like, Oh, that’s privilege. And, and so that was definitely eye opening, and even thinking, you know, just other interactions too, thinking about, like the police. You know, I’ve always felt like the police were there to help me. You know, like, they were the good people. It never in a million years did I ever think like, they weren’t there to help me that they were the bad people, not the good people. And, you know, to start to see some of those interactions through the eyes of some of the things that have happened.


Murray Guest  27:45

Yeah, um, this is a big question I’m going to ask, but do you think there’s a shift happening? I know, there’s lots of talk. But is there a shift happening in the US at the moment to help reset some of the perceptions and relationships that do exist? So that that does get better?


TyAnn Osborn  28:09

I think so. Well, there’s got to be. I mean, I feel it, I definitely feel it. There’s got to be and I think there’s there’s definitely opened up conversations about why, how have the police gotten to where they’ve gotten, like, you know, as a society, we have asked more and more and more and more of the police over time. And so I think there’s been an acknowledgement, like, is this is this right, is the should we have this? Should some of this be in more of almost, you know, a community a social work kind of thing, and actually not in the police per view? And should more, you know, some of those funds be redirected there. So that’s all very real time.


Murray Guest  29:03

Yeah and as an outsider, I’m sure that I don’t fully understand. I know I don’t, but one of the things that I think is, again, I’m framing this up hopefully okay, is it’s very inconsistent between areas in, in different countries. You know, you’re based in the US and I can imagine it’s inconsistent around how the work is done, how it’s funded, who does what, their responsibilities, and there’s some really good areas and and good processes and systems and things in place. And then other areas, it’s just not. So that consistency, I think is a problem. 


TyAnn Osborn  29:44

Welcome to the States. 


Murray Guest  29:47

Yeah, and and Australia, and lots of other countries have their problems as well. And I think that’s where the movement that has happened in the US Black Lives Matter very, very important. It’s bringing awareness to the things that, you know, we’re talking about in our awareness but everyone else and that the good out of that is has been a ripple effect in other parts of the world as well.


TyAnn Osborn  30:14

So yeah, I was gonna ask because again, I feel like news often flows out of America and onto everyone else we don’t always get.


Murray Guest  30:23

You don’t get any outside news in America…


TyAnn Osborn  30:25

No we don’t the media is exceedingly one way in the States. So what is happening? Because you know, you I mean, Australia’s got a long history of people also being marginalized.


Murray Guest  30:39



TyAnn Osborn  30:40

So what is happening?


Murray Guest  30:43

Well, I’ll put my hand up and first say I’m not as educated as I would like to be, or I think I should be around this topic. So I own that. What I do know is, earlier this year, we had protests and we brought some awareness to deaths in custody, as getting some reporting in the in the media, and around the terrible statistics around the percentage of indigenous people that are incarcerated. And also the treatment. However, has anything shifted? Has there been any change in policy? Has there been any improvement in those situations? I don’t think so. I think there was a spike of attention. But we’re not getting the change that we need to have. Australia has a, as you said, like a white people settling here over 200 years ago and thinking, Hey, we found a country and this is what we’re doing. And there was already an existing and the longest population in the world here existing and living and thriving in lots of ways. And there’s a lot that we need to do to bring around that equity and equality. Yeah. That said, there are some good things happening, there are some programs in place but again, inconsistent and not getting enough focus, that’s for sure. Yeah.


TyAnn Osborn  32:17

Well, you know, maybe one of the things to come out of this so bizarre year, I don’t even know what we’re gonna look back and call this year, like, the crazy time or whatever, is, you know, maybe it’ll accelerate some of this stuff. And we’ll be able to be like, yeah, that’s the year we finally were able to, you know, make a step in the right direction.


Murray Guest  32:41

Yeah, like the earth’s obviously spinning consistently for, I don’t think I have any flat earth listeners out there. And maybe we’re just we’re doing a little pause at the end of 2020. Let’s just stop and start spinning again, in a better direction.


TyAnn Osborn  32:57

I vote for that.


Murray Guest  33:03

So something I’ve said to lots of leaders over the years, is every conversation is an opportunity to influence the culture.


TyAnn Osborn  33:10



Murray Guest  33:13

And I think about this, when we talk and about the things we are talking about, and not just within organizations, within families, within with friends, with any of the communities that we’re a part of. How do you think this statement plays out with what we’re talking about with micro messages?


TyAnn Osborn  33:38

You know, it’s like, when we’re talking with clients, and we are talking about culture with our clients all the time, and I tell them, you know, culture is something it’s living, and it’s breathing, and it’s something you you have, whether you like it or not, and whether it’s what you want or not, and it’s not something you you talk about once a year when you do the employee survey, and it’s not what you think it is, it’s never what you think it is. It’s and so it’s it’s every little thing every day. That’s it and it’s, so every single interaction it’s either putting drops of dye in the water in the good bucket, or in the not so good bucket.


Murray Guest  34:26

I like that. Yeah.


TyAnn Osborn  34:27

And you know, one little drop doesn’t make a difference. It doesn’t, you know, if you have an Olympic sized swimming pool, one little drop in either side doesn’t make a difference but over time, you better believe it makes a difference. And you’re not going to be able to tell which drop made the deciding difference.


Murray Guest  34:45

If you pee in the pool long enough. It’s just gonna be..


TyAnn Osborn  34:50

That’s it. We always told the kids that we had the dye in the pool that if you peed, it turned purple. They still believe that’s true. But yeah so I always tell them, it’s everything you do. So if you come in and you’re having an off day, that that’s decretive, that takes away. And if you’re having an on day, that’s great. That’s a accretive. So it’s everything. It’s everything. So if you’re having a micro aggressive day, guess what? That that’s, that takes away.


Murray Guest  35:21

So here’s a thought, if someone’s listening to this conversation, and you’re thinking, this sounds like so much extra work.


TyAnn Osborn  35:30

Do not be a jerk. And not be an asshole. Maybe we should have a chat. Please call me.


Murray Guest  35:42

Well, but but that ends that conversation, right?


TyAnn Osborn  35:48

No, no, it’s, um, it’s never too late.


Murray Guest  35:51

Yeah, so and the bit I’m thinking about, it’s actually not extra work. You’re right. It’s not turning up. Like, I think you’ve described it pretty well, being an asshole. It’s actually how do I turn up? And just be more considerate of those people around me? It doesn’t take that much extra energy, does it?


TyAnn Osborn  36:11

No, it’s the same amount of energy. Right? You can use it for good, or you can use it for evil. It’s the same amount of energy. And so I think, you know, the first thing Murray I was thinking about was, especially like, when I was writing that article, I had that part at the end, that I really encouraged the leaders to sit down with their teams, and just talk and ask, you know, what micro aggressions are happening? Because there’s something happening. There’s always something happening. And so if you’re the leader, and you’re sitting there right now thinking, nothing’s happening in my company, you are 1,000% wrong. There is something happening. And if you think there’s not, you’re fooling yourself, or you don’t really know what’s going on.


Murray Guest  36:57

Can I ask, did you read Simon Sinek’s book, The Infinite game?


TyAnn Osborn  37:02

I’ve read a lot of his stuff. I don’t know if I’ve made it all the way through that one.


Murray Guest  37:07

Yeah, I could be wrong. I think it’s his most recent book. It’s the most recent of his book I read. And the reason I’m raising it is there’s something that he explores in the book which you are alluding to so strongly, and that is ethical fading.


TyAnn Osborn  37:27

What does he say about that?


Murray Guest  37:28

All he talks about in the finance industry, but also from a cultural perspective, around how our ethics within an organization can fade away bit by bit by bit, and then we get…


TyAnn Osborn  37:39

That’s how Wells Fargo stays in business.


Murray Guest  37:42

And then we get to a point where something and the way I think about it culturally as then, let’s say then, let’s say something happens one day and a manager slaps a woman on the on the backside. And like, hang on, that’s inappropriate, that should you know, we need to, it’s not a microaggression. That’s a macroaggression. Hang on. That is just unacceptable. Right.


TyAnn Osborn  38:05

Right. Right, right.


Murray Guest  38:06

But what I think about is, well, what led up to that point, what was the ethical fading? What where do we drift apart? Where do we drift from the standards of behavior and acceptability that we said that we would work towards to get to that point, right. And what I like that you’re talking about is, as a leader, let’s be proactive. Let’s have those conversations around. Well, what’s happening right now. So we don’t get to any situation we don’t want to ever get to.


TyAnn Osborn  38:31

Right. Well, I think that’s what it’s so great that you said that. And I will look that up, as you know, I read all the time. I think that’s part of what was so interesting about what I wrote is that it was so shocking for so many people. And, you know, one of the things I wrote about was the COO of a division of PepsiCo, at the company Christmas party, he came and put his hand down my dress in front of a big group of people, who laughed about it, and said, Oh, that’s just so and so. So clearly, there had been this erosion over time, and I wasn’t the first person he had put his hand down their dress. And it had become so normalized that not one of them looked and was like, Oh, my gosh, in fact, it was funny.


Murray Guest  39:26

Yeah, I think that, that’s just so and so that’s just the way it is. That’s just the way he shows up. That’s just, that’s just my uncle at Thanksgiving, you know, type thing. However, within organizations, we have a role to play as leaders in the culture that’s created for acceptable and not acceptable behavior.


TyAnn Osborn  39:50

Absolutely. There’s, um, that’s kind of a hallmark of microaggressions is that they are often wrapped up in humor.


Murray Guest  39:59

Yeah, yeah.


TyAnn Osborn  40:00

Often because that’s sort of the social lubricant that makes them easier to swallow, if you will. And there cannot be any sacred cows, you know, you can’t say, Oh, well, that’s that’s Tim, but he’s our general counsel hahaha. You have to have zero tolerance, if that’s the COO or whatever. And what’s interesting is, you know, almost all big companies now, Murray, you know, have kind of appropriate workplace behavior training now, right? I mean, we see this, this is now almost standard. And, you know, they trot the attorneys out and the HR people out and say the right things, and it’s, you know, if frontline manager Steve does something, there’s usually a pretty consistent response, you know, yeah, Steve will be terminated. Okay. Well, if, you know, that’s frontline manager, Steve, but if CEO Tim does something far, far less often is the CEO, you know, dealt with the same way that the frontline manager’s dealt with.


Murray Guest  41:12

Which I think goes back to that consistency. It doesn’t matter what your role is, or the level within an organization, the same expectations apply.


TyAnn Osborn  41:23

Right. So what does that say to the employees then when you’re like, Well, you know, frontline manager did it. And he was immediately eviscerated. We never heard from that guy again. And CEO did it. And everybody laughed about it, and the person who disappeared was the victim. You know?


Murray Guest  41:41

Yeah. Well, and I think that, the more again, that these things are talked about, and brought awareness that around how do we have the conversations around the acceptable? And then let’s be honest, there are some really good leaders out there that are doing a great job in creating cultures of people that are thriving and engaged.


TyAnn Osborn  42:02

Absolutely. So I don’t want people to think, you know, it’s, it’s a horrible place out there. It’s not. And so, you know, the big thing for me, Murray was saying, I recognize that I do have privilege, and I’m just starting to come to grips with what does that mean, you know? And what does it mean to kind of stand up for other people and use my voice? And what kind of platform do I have? And how can I, how can I be an instrument of good? And then thinking that Okay, and if these things have happened to me along the way, and I am, I am white, I am educated, I, you know, I do have all of the advantages. Oh, my gosh, what must be happening to people who do not have the same level of privilege? And, and who are we leaving behind?


Murray Guest  42:58



TyAnn Osborn  42:58

And who’s not able to say anything about it. And, you know, at the end of the day, Murray, I did have agency and that’s kind of a word that we use to say that, you know, I have the ability to pick up my wagon and go somewhere else. And I know that I could go find another job. Right? You know, what, what are they going to do to me, at the end of the day, I can go find another job. Maybe it’ll be inconvenient. Or, you know, what kind of financial impact is it really going to have, you know, I have some money in the bank, I have family that I could move back in with, you know, like, really what’s gonna happen, I’m not gonna be living in a box down by the river, you know, so you kind of think about this, that, really nothing bad is going to happen to me. But what about people who don’t have my same privilege?


Murray Guest  43:51

Yeah, yeah.


TyAnn Osborn  43:53

They can’t just go find another job. They can’t, they don’t have money in the bank. They don’t have family that they could rely on. You know, what are they going to do? So and they have to put up with some asshole putting their hand down their dress.


Murray Guest  44:12

Yeah. And, and the, I’m pausing to think about, again, as seeking to understand around, we don’t know everyone’s situation, and we don’t know what that’s like, and, and what I mean by that, is that the full livelihood and lives of people and what that could be like, and as you said, the the actual ability to have that agency and choice that in itself, isn’t available to minorities of people.


TyAnn Osborn  44:45

Right? And so I, I just figure I’m like, Oh my gosh, and this is what we do for a living, right? We try to, to get in there to as many people as we can and help them see the potential in them, their their lives and themselves, right like, we try to be a light for others. And so, like, Oh my gosh, if I can only, like, just help somebody realize that they have inherent worth and value, and they don’t have to put up with crap like that. And like, you know, so I guess twofold – let me help that person really, you know, it’s going to be okay, and that they, you know, it’s going to be alright, and then help leaders, how can they help, you know, make an organization that helps stamp that stuff out, eliminate it, be a sensitive organization, build a positive culture, you know, so I guess kind of multiple faceted in terms of how can we help organizations and people.


Murray Guest  45:41

Well, the third thing that you did in your article, which, coincidentally, I had done over the last couple of years, and that is reach out to people who had helped me in my career. And I love how you called out by name those peers, colleagues and leaders you’d worked with over the years that were supporters of you. And you acknowledge the the value and the way they’ve been there for you over the years. And I think, and so I did this in the last couple years, I’ve reached out to a couple of leaders that I had back in the 90s, and said, Hey, I wouldn’t be who I am, or where I am, if it wasn’t for you.


TyAnn Osborn  46:21

I love that.


Murray Guest  46:23

And then had the conversation. And I think there’s also something about that, like you’re saying, let’s support each other, let’s understand, let’s be allies, and taking the time out to appreciate and acknowledge those people that have helped you along the way.


TyAnn Osborn  46:40

You know, I love that. And that was important for me to do, because I want, it wasn’t just to be a, you know, I didn’t want it to be just a finger pointing exercise. Because while we all think that can be sort of mighty fun some days, you know, that, that doesn’t really do much at the end of the day, to help, you know, and none of us got where we are by ourselves. And I believe that’s a responsibility that we have is to bring other people along with us. And I also found some of those people that I named and kind of reached out to as a part of the process of writing, didn’t realize what a big impact on me they had had. And so I don’t know if you found the same thing with you.


Murray Guest  47:25

Yeah. I did. And and to be honest, it was one of them was a leader, Trevor, who was really one of my first managers back early 90s. And he’s retired now, semi retired, in his 60s. Trevor, hope you’re in your 60s, sorry. And but when we had the conversation, I had tears in my eyes. He had tears in his eyes, it was very much a real appreciation of bringing to light what he didn’t know. Yeah. And, and you’re right, so no matter who you are, I think taking that time out and acknowledging that because you’re right, we’re all in this together. And partnerships are so important.


TyAnn Osborn  48:07

Well, yeah, so two more things about that. And it wasn’t just female leaders that I called out there was a very strong male leader in there, too, who I just adored and have learned so much from but there was also a leader in there who she was really, really tough on me, but you know, in in a way that I needed to hear when I was really, really young and taught me some good lessons, frankly, about kind of growing up.


Murray Guest  48:32

Yeah, gotcha. And then just very quickly, Trevor, when I reflect back, there was some tough conversations. There were some things I needed to hear from him. I’m like, early 20s.


TyAnn Osborn  48:43

I know, I kind of look back and I’m like, she probably is looking at me going…I, mm mm no. But we all need those people in our lives. And so I think anyway, the whole point of all of this is, we’re better together. And having these conversations, I think, if we do nothing else, like let’s use this as a catalyst to have, start having some open and honest conversations.


Murray Guest  49:07

Well, actually, while I’ve got the air, I’m going to also shout out to Megan and to Paul, a couple of leaders as well. So thank you also, and I have reached out to you over the years, but I just want to make sure I mentioned them as well, so. So Ty, we need to wrap up in a minute. And, again, I can’t thank you enough for your courage of the article that you wrote, which I’m going to ensure we have a link in this podcast for people to go and read themselves. It is about microaggressions, micro messages and how to be an ally for others. It’s had lots of attention and well deserved attention because you’re creating a space for people to share, to learn, to grow and to to be vulnerable and there’s so much power in that and your vulnerability did that. So, again, I thank you so much. I thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your inspiration. And for you being you, your laughter, I just want to hear more of that as well. That’s just, you’ve got an awesome laugh as well.


TyAnn Osborn  50:09

Thank you.


Murray Guest  50:10

A couple of things that are really important. I think, if you do get something out of this conversation, please share it online. Make sure you tag Ty and myself. The article I’m referring to that Ty wrote is on LinkedIn. So please check that out and do comment. As I said, it’s a great article. Additionally, if something in this conversation did trigger you as well make sure you seek some support and have some conversations with people that support you as well. And I’ll make sure that there is suitable links in the podcast notes if there’s people you need to reach out to to have those conversations and get that support as well. Ty, to wrap us up, is there any final message that you’d like to leave people with today?


TyAnn Osborn  50:50

Just thank you Murray for reaching out, obviously, I think you are the embodiment of inspired energy. And it just means so much. I mean, you are doing this right now you are sharing your platform, you know, with me and with others, to keep this kind of stuff alive. So thank you so much.


Murray Guest  51:09

Thank you, Ty, thank you so much. Really appreciate that. And I love that this conversation. We’ll be talking again soon. So look out for the next episode of Murray and Ty chatting about stuff and important conversations. All the best for the rest of 2020. And I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks again.

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