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Incongruent Organizational Systems Rewards, information systems, patterns of authority, career paths, selection criteria,and other systems and structures are both friends and foes of organizational change. When properly aligned, they reinforce
desired behaviors. When misaligned, they pull people back into their old attitudes and behavior. Even enthusiastic employees lose momentum after failing to overcome the structural confines of the past.Unfreezing, Changing, and RefreezingAccording to Lewin's force field analysis model, effective change occurs by unfreezing the current situation, moving to a desired condition, and then refreezing the system so it remains in this desired state. Unfreezing occurs when the driving forces are stronger than the restraining forces. This happens by making the driving forces stronger, weakening or removing the restraining forces, or both.The first option is to increase the driving forces, motivatingemployees to change through fear or threats (real or contrived). This strategy rarely works, however, because the action of increasing the driving forces alone is usually met with an equal and opposing increase in the restraining forces.A useful metaphor is pushing against the coils of a mattress. The harder corporate leaders push for change, the stronger the restraining forces push back This antagonism threatens the change effort by producing tension and conflict within the
organization.The second option is to weaken or remove the restraining forces. The problem with this change strategy is that it provides no motivation for change. To some extent, weakening the restraining forces is like clearing a pathway for change. An unobstructed road makes it easier to travel to the destination but does not motivate anyone to go there. The preferred option, therefore, is to both increase the driving forces and reduce or remove the restraining forces. Increasing the driving forces creates an urgency for change, while reducing the restraining forces lessens motivation to oppose the change and removes obstacles such as lack of ability or situational constraints.CREATING AN URGENCY FOR CHANGEThe opening story to this chapter described how Alan Mulally began the change process at Ford Motor Company bywarning staff that the company would die if it didn't change quickly. The fact is, organizational change requires employees to have an urgency for change.25 "I think there are two attributes for every successful company," says Warren Erhart, CEO of White
Spot, western Canada's oldest (since 1928) and most successful restaurant chain. "One is a sense of urgency, the other is a dedication to continuous improvement." Erhart explains the importance of these two attributes: "We know that success is fleeting. We have to keep working at it and keep focused all the time."26A few months after he became CEO of Nokia Corp, StephenElop sent employees a scorching e-mail, warning them about the urgency for change. "I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform," wrote Elop. "And, we have more than