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!

Monday, December 9, 2013


Have you ever met someone who sets a course in life based on how many others are doing the same thing? Rather than identifying problems, investigating their root cause and acting to resolve them they tend to take the path of least resistance and “go where others are going.” They often highlight the “wrongs” of others so
their questionable actions seem much more “right.”

The travesty in life is that far too many people diminish their potential by following the crowd.  They do what is popular rather than standing strong on their own values, judgments and decisions.  They choose acceptance by the majority rather than the criticism that standing alone often brings.  They accept the stagnation of “what is” rather that seeking the opportunities of “what could be.”  Their mantra might be “I am no different than anyone else” rather than “I am a unique individual whose potential is limited only by my own actions and behaviors.”

Following the crowd is easy – you do what others accept (and often what they expect), go where others are going, act as others act to blend in to their fabricated sense of community.  Only when one recognizes and acknowledges that much can come from seeking a different reality than that chosen by the crowd will he or she begin to realize that loss can become gain, failure can breed success, and the decision to stop can either be an end to an unfortunate set of circumstances OR the impetus to move forward.  It seems that each end is but a beginning, and every beginning concludes an end.  Followers of a crowd tend to accept the group’s vision as a final destination.

Those destined to be leaders gain confidence through training, affirmation, confirmation and acceptance by others whom they respect.  They seek strong mentoring from successful individuals.  They see the future as something not yet clearly defined – recognizing that as it is clarified and accomplished it will fade into the past, leaving room for more growth and continuous forward progress..

Had Fulton listened to “common wisdom” would he ever have invented the steam engine?  Would the Wright brothers have launched their dreams into the air had “the crowd” determined the way?  Is our nation stronger and more stable because our leaders make decisions based on polls that measure what the majority think they should do – taking the more acceptable route – rather than seeking potentially unpopular counsel?  Might we be in a better place if our leaders simply acted to bring the promises made to the people that elected them to fruition?

What might YOU be able to accomplish – what potential might you be able to realize – if you “marched to your own drummer” rather than listening to the tunes sung by others?  Make the most of your individuality in whatever you may say or do.  While many people try to be something or someone they wished they were or would like to become, there is only one you in the world.

As the “old year” winds down and the curtain is drawn on a new act, resolve to be yourself in whatever you
say and do – to seek your own answers to life’s complications rather than living as someone else might wish.  Claim your “wins” and admit to your failures – accepting (and sharing, when appropriate) the credit for things done “right” while assuming responsibility for mistakes (and resolving any hardships they may have caused) as you move towards the discovery of new opportunities.  When we misrepresent facts or exaggerate the truth we often find ourselves tangled within an inescapable web formed from our initial deceit (white lie or misrepresentation).  Rather than “living larger than life” during 2014, accept the life you were given and build upon it.  Leverage your strengths and identify any areas that might need to be improved.  Once identified, act to initiate necessary change so you can move forward.

Take a stand this coming year to do what is right REGARDLESS of the personal ramifications or pain that might result.  Remember that the hardest lie to live is one you have internalized as truth – particularly if those around you believe similarly.  Being true to yourself is one of the most noble and admirable decisions you can make – surpassed only by your being true to those around you.