More than 500 years ago, in the year 1513, Niccolò Machiavelli wrote this in the classic book called The Prince:
“And 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.”
And 500 years from now, someone will still be saying that innovation and driving change is difficult, perilous, and uncertain.
But despite the difficulty, peril, and uncertainty of success, we need to continue to drive change and to pursue innovation—better processes, new organization structures, new products and services—because change and innovation are the keys to progress and growth. In the long run, no business can thrive and grow without change and innovation. We will not always be successful, but if we make good choices, our winners will more than compensate for our losers. And even when we fail, our experience can be a source of useful learning.