Medicine Or Surgery?

All organizations are living organisms: complex systems of people and structures. And, just like any living organism, sometimes organizations develop illnesses. If you’re responsible for treating the sickness, how do you determine the best course of action?

Some illnesses -- many of them, in fact -- can be treated with medicine: steady change or treatment over time. There are varying levels of potency that will impact the number and severity of side effects, but generally a course of medicine, even if it takes months or even years, can restore health and remove many toxic influences.

Some illnesses, however, require surgery: an urgent, sometimes radical procedure to quickly and completely remove the cause of illness. Recovery and rehabilitation may take longer. Sometimes there's even a chance that the patient may not survive the procedure, but in the face of potential death, surgery may be a risk worth taking.

Part of the art of leadership is knowing what kind of illness you are dealing with, the root of that illness, the extent of the damage, and which course of action will give the best prognosis.

Is there any illness currently impacting your organization? What do you think is the best course of treatment for that illness?

Angie Ward