Machiavelli was Right

Niccolo Machiavelli was right, when he said. There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

machiavelliWow. He sure nailed it on the head. If you’ve ever come into an organization and tried to change its course, you know just how right he was. Change is hard, change is risky, and change is resisted.

And even when people claim to be willing to change, almost to a person, they will tell you that their peers will resist it.

In February, Julia Kirby wrote an analysis of the downfall of a change agent. As I read her blog on Harvard Business Review, most of her analysis boils down to arrogance. Coming in as a white knight that will rescue a situation, creating an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mentality, presuming that everyone agrees that change is necessary – any one of these will create resentment in an organization. Doing all of them is sure to make change even harder.

An organization is made of people who have invested time and their lives in building something good. To be told that it has to change implies that they have wasted their time, or that what they have built is not good.

Instead, engaging every level in the organization in making the already good even better creates a team more willing to work on change. And change is important, to keep up with society, and to ensure that you’re delivering your mission in the best way possible.

It’s not a panacea – change IS hard – but a willing attitude goes a long way toward making those difficult transitions easier to take. Instead of imposing change, inspire the team to aspire to greatness. Change will follow.

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