This post presents seven propositions on organisational change, based on the simple but powerful perspective of having successfully changed organisations. It is a theory of change which denounces theories of change in passing along the way, or perhaps to be fair it is a pragmatic distillation of insights (the difference between the two can be left to explore on another occasion). Of the seven, the one which simultaneously resonates most strongly and is the most subversive, is the fourth, ‘most people are motivated to do good work.’
Intrinsic motivation certainly makes organisational change easier, which is the point being made in the post. But it does something even more important than that as well: it changes the nature of the change which is needed and the change which can be delivered. That’s because most organisations are designed – overtly or otherwise – on the opposite proposition, that most people will work effectively only if closely supervised. Changing that changes a great deal.
That then links very directly to the fifth proposition, ‘everyone knows what’s wrong.’ They may well do, but they will keep their insights to themselves if they do not perceive that their motivation is recognised and respected.