One of the most potentially dangerous states for a company to be in is where it is successful in spite of itself.  Companies that are (or once were) monopolies have a surplus of cash and little to no competition.  There is arguably little reason for them to change.  Is it possible for a company in this position to care enough about efficiency to adopt agile practices?  Historical success can cause a fear of change - if we try something else we might fail and we are fine now. Not only is this avoidance of change unhealthy culturally, the inability to seek improvement will eventually lead to drop in market position of the company. 

The past few years have seen the adoption of Agile practices in larger and larger organizations.  At last years Agile conference, Alistair Cockburn presented a keynote around the growth and spread of Agile.  One of the cornerstones of adoption is a healthy and desired feedback loop.  What can we do at organizations where competition isn't an immediate concern?  How can you address a space with a low appetite for change?  Is change possible without motivation?

We live in a time where not only can success happen quickly, but failure can happen even quicker. Beyond that, failure can happen cheaply. That fact should be a concern to market-leading organizations and  a prime motivator.  Cheap failure is equivalent to efficient, fast learning.  Your organization might be enjoying a comfortable revenue position now, and perhaps the cost of entry to your market is high - but the idea / company that becomes your largest challenger does not need to come at you from a replacement angle.  The company that challenges a financial exchange does not have to offer all of the same trading properties or strategies.  The challenger to an online auction site might not even come from commerce but from a communication channel that then makes transactions simpler and in more confidence.

Can change happen without motivation?  No. If you are having difficulty finding motivation, then look no further than the startups of the past few years along with the current boom of startups happening now.  The best of these startups are learning all market aspects very cheaply and adapting quickly.   Let this start your motivation for seeking continuous improvement and never being satisfied.  If this doesn't motivate you - just wait... someone with less to lose will help motivate you by making you lose a whole lot more.