Machiavelli Quote on Change

I heard this Machiavelli quote on the latest edition of the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leadership Podcast, which was a talk given by Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of HP:

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.

– Niccolo Machiavelli

This was an excellent lecture and this quote really stuck with me. Change is hard, people will resist – and in many cases the person who takes the lead in introducing change is seen as an adversary who is trying to “take things away”.

The main thing being taken away, I think, is “comfort”.

4 thoughts on “Machiavelli Quote on Change

  1. Ron – I agree that this was a facinating quote and talk. I did not know much about Carly before listening to this but now have a desire to read her book and add it to the collection of leadership books that I have read.

  2. I’ve been an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementor for over 25 years. A computer company (don’t remember which one) published this quote back at the beginning of my career and it has helped me remember how difficult change can be. Thank you Niccolo, you were certainly right about this.

  3. The quote was on an IBM calendar in the Seventies.
    I’ve used it ever since.
    Its as relevent today as in the 1500s when Machiavelli wrote it.
    Plagarise, Don’t let anything evade your eyes!

  4. Thanks, Michael – I just saw your post. That was very likely where I saw it. I was in a big IBM shop at the time. I remember when I brought the first PCs into my company, people would be amazed now how hard it was to convince managers that the PC had a future.

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