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!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


What things must you do or consider in order to be successful – to navigate through the competitive world in which we live without drifting into a minefield? We are doing more with less in almost every area of our lives. Our workplaces are more productive, on-line resellers with a limited selection of low-cost items are threatening more traditional retail outlets and we face more competition for the limited number of jobs available in today’s market. In order to rise to the top I would offer three characteristics that seem to prevail within successful individuals:

1) Successful individuals recognize that things done within today’s world may not be good enough for tomorrow. We typically prefer not to “fix things that are not yet broken.” If an individual can anticipate when their “good thing” is about to end AND have developed alternative ways to leverage their strengths into different avenues, he or she will probably thrive. Change for change sake is not a good thing BUT being afraid to change when necessary will hold you back as others move forward. People recognized as successful leaders do not typically spend too much time asking “why” things are the way they are because they focus on “what else” might be or “why not” do them differently. They challenge proven methods, holding on to those that are effective while replacing and refining those that lose their relevance.

2) Individuals driving change and achieving success typically exhibit a relentless sense of urgency – a continuous need to investigate new methods, try new things, and implement new processes. They are rarely happy with what they have – they seek to build upon the talents they have been given. They never feel that “good enough” is OK – they continually seek to expand their horizons. They rarely sit and watch the world go by – they tend to rest only long enough to recharge as they move forward. Rather than being content with the status quo, successful individuals defer to others the business of maintaining so they are free to identify alternative paths and “roads less travelled.” To these, an “end” is not a destination but rather a new beginning.

3) Successful people maintain open communications with others as they gather the information necessary to make informed decisions. They talk to other knowledgeable individuals, listen to their input, and readily act upon what they hear (rather than simply talking and listening without acting). Asking questions with the intent to elicit solutions (rather than simply questioning others to elicit opinions) signals productive communication. While “working within a team” is an important concept within today’s world, NEVER allow someone to convince you that contributing to a team is sufficient. Every team needs a leader to successfully galvanize the diverse input that individual member brings to a team – a leader to chart its path and set its direction. As a sailboat would be worthless without a rudder or a keel, a team is unproductive without a champion lending wind to its sails.

These three characteristics…sensing (and anticipating) the need to change, moving forward with urgency, and seeking input that will lead to a concerted effort at accomplishing change are keys to personal success. Recognizing and using these keys will help release your full potential!