The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Friday, January 13, 2012


One should never allow the apparent unreasonableness of a course of action keep him or her from attempting its completion. We should accept the fact that ANYTHING is possible rather wasting time and effort convincing ourselves to accept defeat before reaching for its alternative. The measure of a solution is in its practical and economic feasibility, not its conventional wisdom or ease of accomplishment.

One cannot be lost if they do not know (nor care) where they are going. One can never fail if they have no plans to succeed. One will never taste disappointment if they have no desire to feast upon success. When we have no destination in mind, we will never reach the end of our journey, for when we do not know what “the end” looks like, we will never know to stop once we have arrived. In order to accomplish anything in life, one must accept the reality that SOMETHING is going to happen regardless of their personal involvement. To thrive, a person must dream of things not yet attained and pursue them until they become reality. To succeed, he or she must be willing to invest energy into bringing their dreams to fruition!

Identifying a solution by starting at the desired result and working backwards can help focus efforts and energies towards the resolution of a task. Starting at the end helps one anticipate lurking pitfalls and problems – allowing one to avoid blind alleys and false starts. People who achieve greatness first expect greatness then figure out how they will accomplish it RATHER THAN starting on a path having no plan or purpose hoping to reach a great destination.

To accomplish great things an individual must demonstrate a sense of determination. A successful person will never repeatedly take the easy road for it often leads towards failure. If success were truly easy, anyone could find it! An innovator will seek an alternate path leading to a different resolution when one road does not bring them to success. Often the effort needed to fail is as significant as that required to succeed! Planning and determination are keys that direct and focus effort towards the accomplishment of dreams - and that allows us to learn from our failures.

If we dare to accomplish our dreams – to be deliberate in our planning and steadfast in our follow-through - we avoid disappointment by recognizing that a temporary failure puts us no further behind than we started. We might rekindle passion for our jobs…our lives…our activities…by seeking not the probable but the possible…not the easy path but the road less traveled.

As another new year begins, toss caution to the wind by stepping outside of your box. We are vessels neither half-empty nor half full waiting impatiently until we can begin to achieve our full potential. Make a resolution to challenge convention this year – to try something different or visit somewhere new – as you bring dreams to fruition by simply asking “Why not?”

Friday, January 6, 2012


Pogo (an early 1970’s comic strip) proclaimed, “We have met the enemy and he is us!” More than ever it seems the things we do to ourselves have a far greater impact on our lives than anything another might do to us. We live within a world of compromise – holding little as being absolute. We promote the faults and weaknesses of those around us because they allow us to look more favorably upon ourselves. We choose the path of least resistance when making decisions - being “right” or “wrong” becoming a secondary consideration to being “socially accepted.”

We once stood united in defense of country, philosophies and dreams – fighting selflessly to protect these ideals from any external force that might seek to change our way of life. We focused more upon how those “outside” threatened us – bridging the largest internal gaps with a common good – ignoring our differences to stand together. We fought to advance the whole by elevating all of its individual parts. All received their share of the harvest based upon their individual contribution to its existence rather than simply because they shared a need for the fruits of another’s labor.

Today it seems that more people seek to thrive NOT by elevating themselves but rather by bring others down. While some still seek to succeed on their own merit, far too many seek to rise to the top by climbing upon the broken dreams of others as if they were but rungs to a ladder. When did we begin to measure “right and wrong” through comparison and compromise rather than with an absolute yardstick or an unwavering moral compass? When did we begin to justify and validate our actions as acceptable by measuring them against the actions of those doing “worse?” When did it become OK to bend the rules to get what we want – when we want it – without regard to what others might want, need or expect?

What is it about our human nature that allows us to accept excuses rather than solutions – to lay blame rather than accepting responsibility? Rather than searching endlessly for external enemies, perhaps it would prove more profitable to beware “the enemy within the mirror.” The greatest threats to our existence lie not within what others might do to us but rather within what we might do to ourselves. If we choose to live within a world of comparative justification, how can we expect to find anything more than relative success?