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!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Our country is in the process of transforming itself from a creator of things into an incubator of ideas. While we still produce some of the highest quality products in the world, we rely upon technology and process efficiency to minimize labor costs while maximizing profitability. A higher level of education is required to fill entry-level jobs, and life-long learning has become necessary for one to retain their position. Parents and schools must help to prepare technologically competent students able to meet heightened standards of accountability and responsibility placed upon them by employers. Until we recognize that change is inevitable - realize that what once was will never again be - we will not move from our stagnant reality towards our potential destination.  We will be like a sailboat mired fog, knowing we must move forward but afraid to go towards port for fear we will be dashed upon the unforgiving rocky shore.

Lost in the call for change is the definition of reality. Is the light at the end of the tunnel one of hope not yet realized or one of disaster lying in wait? Can we best enter the future by seeking what “has not yet been tried” or by dwelling upon (and then avoiding) what did not previously work? I would prefer to look back just long enough to acknowledge my shortcomings and analyze why an action may have resulted in an undesirable result before focusing on how I might move forward towards a brighter tomorrow. Understanding yesterday’s mistakes helps them become no more than tomorrow’s memories – dwelling upon them makes them a predictor of future action.

We thrive by learning to accept the previously unacceptable – by innovating rather than finding comfort in what always was. We once applied our "learning" to known, well-defined situations to resolve them in tested (and predictable) ways. Today, information is readily available to anyone – achieving success will require one to apply data in a way that expands knowledge and empowers actions used to create innovative solutions rather than performing assigned tasks. Our educational institutions must make sure students grasp core concepts and their application rather than simply memorizing answers to questions that the “real world” may never ask. We must move away from rewarding effort to recognizing accomplishment. We all have different gifts – we must embrace the ways our diverse individual perspectives can contribute to the accomplishments of the whole.

Knowledge is power that will never become actionable unless its application creates the wisdom needed to
initiate change. Unless you are willing to act, you must accept whatever comes your way – reduced to accepting the inevitable rather than accomplishing the improbable. When we set our sights low – do ONLY those things we KNOW can be accomplished – we will accomplish nothing more than has already been previously achieved.

When we imagine that which is incomprehensible, seeing it as not only achievable but viewing it as a foregone conclusion, we can accomplish those things once believed to be impossible. Rather than settling for a “life as you know it,” stretch your horizons beyond their comfortable limits as you redefine the future by rushing headlong towards an undefined reality. Shine through the darkness of the night, through the depths of life's storms, as you become a beacon to those seeking guidance - a point of focus to those seeking truth.