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, May 16, 2013


A successful business must establish an organizational mission and focus its resources towards the mission’s fulfillment. It must remain true to its mission regardless of the unrelated opportunities that might present themselves or the potentially negative consequences that might emerge while following the planned path. Successful organizations are usually “birthed” to fulfill a specific need that is not being adequately met by anyone else. They are “fed and sustained” by the organization’s ability to continue to meet the need – to improve on quality and functionality while minimizing cost. If an organization becomes complacent by neglecting to make innovate improvements, continually improve on product quality or fail to maintain competitive price points, competitors may (if the business is significant and profitable) take over by paying better attention to those details. Should an organization stray from its mission rather than focusing on its core competencies – chasing unrelated “business rabbits” down unplanned “rabbit holes” (regardless of the potential income opportunities) – growth will be deflected or delayed. Not surprisingly, business is a microcosm of life – which cannot be lived to its fullest without a mission (purpose) or goals (aspirations) clearly identified and established.

Some people claim they will never fail if they set the bar low in life. They feel that happiness can be found by avoiding disappointment – questioning why one would ever establish lofty goals that present the risk of failure (regardless of the potential reward should the goal be attained). These individuals drift through life without ever realizing all they could be because they are content with being only enough to get by. They look to grasp onto things easily attained rather than looking towards the heavens and reaching out to touch the stars. They take what is available rather than seeking that which could be but has not yet materialized. They choose to travel the highways in life – the roads that lead to a defined destination in the most expeditious and direct route possible – rather than seeking new opportunities or finding undiscovered treasures along the roads less travelled.

Successful individuals plan their futures based on both their current abilities AND their attainable skills and capabilities. They establish goals not easily accomplished as they move from their “present reality” to a state of “future possibility.” Rather than accepting “what is” as being “all that will ever be,” they seek opportunities not yet identified as their next resting place while they travel towards an ever-changing target upon a long and winding road. They find success in making a difference – a difference not only in their own life but also in the lives of those they touch along the way. While setting the bar high may create temporary delays as they travel life’s path, they learn from their failures so they will be avoided in the future – paving the road to success with the knowledge gained from overcoming bumps in the road. Successful individuals continually fill their lives with new beginnings rather than being content to live lives filled with predictable and identifiable “ends.”

Successful business needs to identify a purpose and clearly communicate its commitment to invest all available resources into the accomplishment of its mission. A business cannot attain its full measure of success without establishing expectations and measuring progress towards the accomplishment of “baby steps” along the way. Likewise, one cannot realize their full potential without establishing a reason to exist that encompasses more than living one day at a time – that defines a purpose, goals, expectations, outcomes and ways to measure progress. Rather than defining “success” ONLY as being the ultimate accomplishment of a task, thought or process, successful individuals take stock of their actions as the move TOWARDS (and beyond) their goals .