Coming Out of Surgery

Coming Out of Surgery

A few years ago, I had surgery for a double hernia. It was not fun, believe me. When I came out of surgery, I was dazed and weakened. Though I could walk, stairs were not easy. It took a few weeks before I was fully back in action.

Today at work, someone described our organization as "coming out of surgery." He was referring to all the downsizing that has been going on here since December when we were acquired by the new owner.

How do you handle an organization that has just come through some significant surgery? Nurses know that, when patients come out of surgery, great care must be taken. Patients can be in pain, disoriented, confused. The nurse's goal is to help the patient to recover, go home, and return to full function in the outside world. In pursuing this goal, nurses serve the physical, social and emotional needs of their patients. Some days, there is hardly time to breath. Handling post-surgery patients can be a very stressful assignment for a nurse.

What are the implications for OD (organization development) practitioners? Maybe it would help to take a page from the nurse's book.

1.Recovery: What does it take to help people in an organization to recover from the shock of a downsizing?

Those who remain, after the terminations, are deeply affected by it. Some feel numb. There are various emotions at a time like this, including sadness, anger, relief.

Some wonder, "Why did this have to happen?". Many are fearful, "Is it over yet?"

2.Return to Full Function: What does it take to help people in an organization to return to full function in the performance of their jobs?

Just as it takes time (and often therapy) for a patient who has undergone surgery to return to full function, it will take time for people in an organization. It won't be easy.

As an internal OD guy, I felt the trauma of the surgery first-hand. I saw people get "taken out," removed and dismissed.

 I'm not over it yet.


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