It ought to be remembered that 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. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.
— Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, 1512

From what?

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 narrative

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.

To what?

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.

Making changes

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.