When effecting change, the starting point is a comprehensive assessment of where the firm stands in relation to the elements being changed. While such assessments are routine, few are robust; fewer still are imaginative. Few see beyond the obvious capabilities to the intangible, the cultural.
The role of coherent strategy is to create a narrative for the need for change. If people understand the logic of the need for change, they are more likely to accept change and less likely to attempt to resist it or subvert it.
When a social organism, such as an organisation, changes, the complexity of the environment and contexts of the organisation and its people make the final outcome unknowable. Few change plans accept that peoples' behaviour will be unpredictable. Managing consequence is often more important than managing change.
The quote from Machiavelli reminds us that change has never been easy nor favoured by those required to change. In the 500 years since The Prince was published, little has altered except the need for constant change. In some sectors, the ability to change is, in itself, potentially a source of competitive advantage.