Change Management WalkMe TeamUpdated March 26, 2021

Tips from History: How to Build Successful Change Management Plans

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Tips from History: How to Build Successful Change Management Plans

Contrasting ideas exist in regards to change management theory and change management plans. The first is that that constant changeconstant change is necessary to adapt a live market. Would you believe that the opposite is also true? Resistance to change acts to limit foolhardy risks. Hence the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
~Charles Darwin

Both are true. The field of change management was established as a professional and analytical approach to decision making. This does not mean that decisions make themselves. A strong personality is still often needed to make necessary but somewhat uncomfortable business decisions.

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Following is a short list of quotes from giants of history to gain insight into your change management plans.

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1. “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 excerpt, taken from The Prince in 1532, gives a feeling to the gravity associated with actually making change management plans happen.

Implementing a significant journey into the unknown, regardless of how much data and reason is backing your decision, still takes a significant level of confidence and grit.

 2. “One must change one’s tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority.”~Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon, like Machiavelli, may have not been the nicest and morally straight guy, but they were both master tacticians that knew how to implement change management plansamong powerful organizations.

Even Napoleon knew to stay up to date and switch up his tactics.


3. “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” ~Charles Kettering

As holder of 140 patents through his R&D work with GM, DuPont and Delco, Kettering knew a thing or two about thinking creatively and coordinating a process of change management.

This is a very straightforward quote that basically says not to fear change and making something new. Often people don’t know what they want until you give it to them.

4. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~Nelson Mandela

This is an important quote in regards to change management because it speaks to the process that needs to be undertaken when making decisions. Significant company wide changes are not made willy-nilly, rather they are based on a lot of hard data, research, and good logical reasoning (in addition to the courage needed to pull the trigger).

5. “Learning is never cumulative, it is a movement of knowing which has no beginning and no end.” ~Bruce Lee / Jiddu Krishnamurti

This is a more abstract quote that speaks to the constant nature of learning. There is no definitive end to mastering a topic and one should always stay mindful and ready to adapt.

Bruce Lee studied the poet and philosopher Krishnamurti and based a lot of this flowy thinking into developing his martial art of Jeet Kune Do (which itself was a huge change into the static world of traditional martial art styles).


6. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~George Bernard Shaw

Actively shape you or your company’s future through constant action.

To quote Bruce Lee again “to Hell with circumstances, I create opportunities.”


7. “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” ~Anatole France

This is a bit of a heavy handed quote, so I’ve saved it for last. It gives weight to Machiavelli’s notion of why a big change can be so hard to implement. It is not easy to move on, but it is a necessary step to grow.

There are many more relevant quotes to be found that relate to change management plans and improvement of one’s self and peers, but I will have to end here for the sake of brevity.

Simply remember to keep learning on your journey of life and business. Insight can literally be taken from anywhere.


“All knowledge leads to self knowledge.” ~Bruce Lee

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