I have written several times that a decision is a commitment to change. (Link to earlier post.)
Seth Godin wrote here about the importance of external levers for affecting change. Ann Michael, in her wonderful blog that I just discovered, added more to Seth's argument, here. I encourage you to read both.
While I concede external levers have a time and place, I believe organizational change begins with decisions we make about our "internal" situation and current mindset. This is because that is ultimately where change has to occur. With this grounding, I also believe that almost anything is possible, given time.
Leaders have used external pressure to affect organizational change for many years and with limited success. They have hired outsiders to insert innovation or replace long term employees; they have orchestrated M&A's to slough off or combine units; they have lobbied to change the regulatory or structural rules to their advantage.
The track record for each of these tactics is fair-to-poor. Few of them create a positive legacy. Only rarely are they customer or stakeholder focused. None strengthen or invest in employees and their families and communities. Most are fleeting and soon forgotten. And most importantly, few lessons are ever learned and applied.
Organizations and people have the power to change within them. Besides, if we don't believe in our own capacity to change, what's the point?