The first activity in planning and implementing organisational change is to motivate commitment to it. The activity of motivating change aims to prevent the failure of change efforts by attending to the tasks of creating readiness for change and overcoming resistance to change (Cummings & Worley, 2009). In our cases of two very different organisations, high-tech product manufacturer and distributor PolyProd, and Vermont-based ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry's, a lack of motivation to change would doom any proposed organisational development intervention to failure. A first step in ensuring that this does not happen is to address both readiness for and resistance to change in each company. In considering the key issue of how to motivate change at the very outset of an intervention, we are most concerned with creating readiness for change and overcoming resistance.
In PolyProd, a non-integrated organisational structure combined with previously failed change efforts have created significant resistance to change; however, the widespread sense of hurt arising from an unsatisfactory status quo could be tapped to create readiness for change.
A "shared sense of pain" could be powerful in generating motivation to change.
In Ben & Jerry's, rapid growth and a "laid back" leadership style have contributed to their evolution into an under-organised company, with negative impact on working conditions. Readiness for change is palpable throughout the company, yet there is strong resistance to change from the founders, the eponymous Ben and Jerry. The founders are the defenders of company core values which put people first, yet change is needed to ensure that at the operational level the needs and aspirations of employees are actually met. Listening to each other's concerns empathetically and in an environment of trust would allow the alignment of goals resulting in a collaborative motivation to change.
Motivating for Successful Change