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 2, 2013


We live in times of transition – of change from one existence to another.  Is it best to seek change at any cost OR approach it with caution, looking before we leap?  How much should we consider what we have before reaching for those things that have been outside of our grasp?  We may not know the road upon which we wish to travel or realize a final destination in advance of our journey BUT only by acknowledging we are not where we want to be will we ever become more than we currently are.  Until we actively and intentionally seek those things we have yet to achieve, we will never ever contribute beyond the level we have already attained.

Does the reason we change make a difference or should we consider any change positive?  Before leaping towards change, make sure you consider what you are leaving, why you are leaving it, what you wish to accomplish and how you plan to proceed.  Think about the positive AND the potentially negative ramifications of change.  Decide whether the unknown to which you gravitate is truly a better place to be than the comfortable place you have come to know and love before you jump as acting without passion is often worse than deciding not to act at all.  Consider the following when seeking personal or professional change:

LOOK TO BUILD UPON THE STRENGTHS YOU HAVE – THE THINGS YOU ENJOY DOING WITHIN YOUR PRESENT SITUATION – BEFORE TRYING TO ELIMINATE THOSE THINGS YOU SIMPLY DO NOT ENJOY.  When discussing change, many say their boss is intolerable, the environment oppressive, the work is not what they thought, a partner is not what he/she once was – the list is endless.  Unless one seeks to identify (and accept) his or her role in each negative, however, it is difficult to create lasting change by running from a bad experience.  Before blaming someone else for a bad situation, examine what role YOU may have played in its becoming tarnished and consider how YOU
might be able to help restore the luster.  Whenever you feel “the other side is greener,” consider that you once thought you were on “the green side.”  Identify not only “what changed” but also “what was right in the first place.”

IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTHS WHEN CONSIDERING CHANGE.  Few people dwell upon what they like most about their situation – rather they carry on endlessly about what is “bad” about it.  If seeking a new job, people tend to seek positions having a similar title.  Individuals able to accomplish change tend to identify and build upon their proven abilities as they transition from one place to the next, leveraging what they HAVE rather than dwelling upon what they do not have or wish to achieve.  If seeking change, identify the strengths that have contributed to past successes then leverage them to create different opportunities or accomplish new things.

ISOLATE (AND ADDRESS) THE NEGATIVES WITHIN YOUR CURRENT SITUATION TO AVOID BUILDING THEM INTO YOUR NEXT OPPORTUNITY.   We often find the things we dislike most have little to do with our duties, responsibilities or actual day-to-day activities.  Many times the “things” driving us to distraction are environmental, people we work with, the level of responsibility (or lack of responsibility) we are given (or assume), the boss, the lack of attention we are receiving (without thought about the fulfillment we receive) – the list of “dislikes” could go on forever.  If these are the reasons for change, make sure to resolve them before transitioning to something else.  Before taking action to disrupt your existence, make sure that it needs disrupting!  A relatively minor issue should not force you into giving something up that you otherwise enjoy.

Change often requires you to take the “road less traveled” if you wish to arrive at a location with which you are unfamiliar doing things you have never done in order to complete something you have not yet accomplished.  We are often more comfortable doing what we have always done – and blaming others for what is not to our liking.  Those seeking change must act intentionally to do things in a manner that will allow for alternative results.

When seeking change it is important that we run towards opportunity rather than away from failure.  We tend to see the neighbor’s “greener grass” as we ignore our own lawn’s possibilities.  We see the results of another’s effort before fully investigating our own potential.  The precursor of change should be determining what you like most about what you are now doing and building upon that foundation.

When should we seek change?  ONLY when we are willing to walk away from the world we know to enter one we can only imagine by leveraging the strengths we possess rather than those we wish we had (or are only trying to find).