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!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


A fellow Board Member on a local non-profit organization recently sent me a list of axioms he uses to help guide his life. The dictionary tells us that an axiom is “A self-evident or universally recognized truth; an established rule, principle, or law; a self-evident principle or one that is accepted as true without proof as the basis for argument.” While Don provided me with nearly 100 bits of truth, several caught my attention:

“INDIVIDUALS UNABLE TO SPEAK POSITIVELY ABOUT WHAT THEY DO ALWAYS RESORT TO SPEAKING NEGATIVELY ABOUT WHAT ANOTHER DOES.”  Far too many individuals find it easier to bring someone down to their level than to bring themselves to a higher plain. We cast stones without thinking that our own glass house could be easily shattered. We console ourselves by justifying that “everyone else does it” so it should be OK (even when we know what we are considering is wrong). Though elevating yourself is often far more difficult than pulling others down, we gain far more by lifting ourselves up – bringing others with us – than we could ever achieve by immersing ourselves within a pool of mediocrity.

“IF YOU CANNOT BE KIND, AT LEAST HAVE THE DECENCY TO BE VAGUE.”  I think of a saying from the classic Disney tale, Bambi, when I read this one. As Thumper’s father told him, “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, it is better to say nothing at all.” It seems that our society revels in the “details of the fall.” We do not seek answers to unfortunate situations so that we can avoid them ourselves – rather we seek all the sordid details so that we can validate our own standing as being better than that of those around us. We do not seek details so that we can help – rather we seek them so that we can embellish them as we talk to others. Perhaps we SHOULD try to help more as we hurt less – seek to provide a cushion upon which others might land rather than an open abyss into which they will fall.

“EVERYONE BRINGS JOY TO MY OFFICE, SOME WHEN THEY ENTER, OTHERS WHEN THEY LEAVE.”  OK, so this one is tongue in cheek – but so appropriate! How often has someone interrupted you during the middle of a thought – as you were just about to solidify an epiphany that would surely change the world forever? Sure, we need others to live life to its fullest, but we all have times when it seems that others might “do more good” talking to someone else than they do disrupting our thoughts! Enjoy the variety that people give the world around you – if everyone thought and acted as you do it would be a terribly boring (or an extremely predictable) world!

“HEALTH NUTS ARE GOING TO FEEL STUPID SOMEDAY WHEN THEY LIE AROUND IN HOSPITALS DYING OF NOTHING.”  We all have a time and a season – a beginning and an end. It is good to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a positive attitude, and to avoid many of the known dangers present in life BUT avoiding all risk and minimizing every hazard we face serves only to delay the inevitable. All must live a balanced life to enjoy the gifts we have while securing as healthy a future as is possible BUT sacrificing joy in the present for the possibility of a prolonged future IS NOT a healthy (nor reasonable) solution. Maintaining our sense of reality (and of humor) during these times of Affordable Care and other Healthcare solutions might serve us all well.

Several axioms I have used as guiding principles include these “self-evident truths” penned by Ayn Rand – all mirroring the thoughts sent to me by Don (but from a slightly different perspective):

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve – not by the desire to beat others.”

“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident that everybody has decided not to see.”

“Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.”

What about you – do you have any baseline “truths” upon which your lift has been built? Share them as a comment to this BLOG – perhaps a new thread can begin from the “best of the best” axioms gathered here. As a starter, one of my favorites (that I have not yet listed) is one of removing limitations we place in our own path: “The question is not who is going to let me – it is who is going to stop me?” Do not become your own worst enemy by becoming a roadblock – by believing a dream to be impossible, abandoning it before the journey towards its realization can even begin. Remember that all things are possible – some take a little longer to accomplish as they require more creativity, thought or planning – improbable does not equate to impossible!