I once heard a CEO say, after the most recent in a series of layoffs, that “we’ve got a healthy company, now.”
A little clue for all the other CEOs out there: never, ever say something like that.
True, half the people will blithely nod and say, “Yep, we surely do,” grateful that they were able to keep their jobs, if for only a little while longer. Their families are still supported, they don’t have to deal with the relationship turmoil of less money coming into a marriage, and they don’t have to see what the job market is like. They’ll be pleased that their stock options for which they put in all that past effort are still good and vesting if the real goal of the layoffs was to make an IPO more feasible.
Unfortunately, a portion of the people will actually evaluate the adjective. Do you actually have a healthy company? A more accurate metaphor might possibly be that you have a lung cancer patient, fresh out of surgery, looking forward to a term of chemotherapy, hoping desperately to live long enough to see his daughter married. And they'll figure this out.
There will be two themes in this group of people … those pensively waiting to see if the cancer has metastasized, and those wondering when upper management is going to quit their 3-pack-a-day habit. These are not the mental states you want to cultivate in your "healthy" company.
Don't choose your metaphors frivolously.