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 16, 2013


Today’s world is afloat with facts, data and information yet it seems that problem-solving skills are slipping through our hands like an ice cube melting within our grasp. We read newspapers (sometimes), watch news (occasionally), page through magazines and check out our electronic resources constantly – knowing what is happening (almost before it happens!) throughout the world. We know if a disaster has occurred, if the price of gas is about to rise, what is happening in Washington (though a “still shot” could probably capture political activity as well as a news clip!) and who just won a ballgame BUT we have difficulty readily applying our wealth of knowledge to un-related circumstances.

Many can memorize facts but far too few can ask the “right questions” that would allow for the formation of a “best” solution when presented with a new challenge. We often seek answers before fully formulating a question. We want answers – NOW – without a moment’s hesitation. We seek stories with tightly wound endings rather than events that have yet to unfold. We find interest in other’s problems – reinforcing the fact that “good news does not sell.” We accept another’s interpretation of the facts as being “gospel truth” rather than digging into a story and coming to our own conclusions. It seems that a “good newscaster” must now CREATE a story rather than REPORT on it. We want to be entertained (rather than informed), agreed with (rather than challenged) and provided for (rather than providing for others). It seems that the application of information to create a viable solution – taking the risk required to make a difference by being different – is no longer a desirable characteristic. Impatience and intolerance have become the driving factors in “effective” communication with the analysis of data and deliberate actions due to those findings but afterthoughts in the creation of reality.

There is no such thing as confidentiality anymore. People prefer to “share openly and honestly” everything they know (have heard or have gained knowledge about in private conversation) rather than exhibiting a “discretionary silence” in regards to conversations that could do more harm than good. Discretion was once the rule – it is now an exception to the rule. Integrity was once an integral part of an individual’s make-up – it is now but an insignificant backdrop to life’s everyday drama. Relationships once rooted in honesty and nurtured by unconditional love now seem built upon circumstance and fed by individual desires. In order to regain credibility we must recognize and consistently honor the privacy of others – their values, their likes, their dislikes and their preferences – rather than holding them open in every aspect like a book without a cover.

Our senses seem overly stimulated by details, information and opportunities yet we far too infrequently take the time to identify issues before moving forward with unthinking (and untenable) solutions. We run before we walk – seemingly oblivious to the fact we might fall – our impatience ruling the day. We fly rather than run – oblivious to the fact others have come before us – relegating their experiences (both wins and losses) to a silent history rather than including their insights into our ongoing thought processes. We pursue the impossible (or at least the improbable) rather than finding comfort in the reality of “what is” and extrapolating it into that which has not yet become – far too often leaping ahead without thought or direction rather than moving slowly (and steadily) forward.

It really does not matter which path you take when you are lost – when you do not know where you are going nor from what you are moving – as any progress is better than no movement at all. In order to transform knowledge into wisdom we must take the time to analyze the plethora of information around us – to make decisions count by anticipating a destination before moving from one situation to another and planning where you want to be before leaping from the frying pan into the fire. One will rarely fail if they do not establish goals – yet success hinges upon the creation and attainment of targets and the accomplishment of individual dreams. It is nearly impossible to make a poor choice or move in the “wrong direction” when
one does not care where they are going nor worry about how they will get there, yet little credit can be taken for unanticipated results generated through unplanned actions.

Study, learn and apply before charging headlong into an appointment with disaster. When you analyze the information around you and apply it to your circumstances, you will be able to leverage your knowledge to make wise decisions rather than blindly following the thoughts, suggestions or considerations of others.

Reach up as you reach out – the world is awaiting your curiosity.