The topic of this post was sourced by Dr. Harold Kerzner, Senior Executive Director for Project Management at the International Institute for Learning and Emeritus Professor of Systems Management at Baldwin Wallace University, where he specializes in the field of project management.
There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to institute a new order of things. — Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian political theorist (1469-1527)
In this installment of the Art of Project Management, I depart from the military strategic insights of Sun Tzu circa 1000 B.C. and advance the time machine to the political strategy of the Italian Renaissance. I’ve cited Niccolo Machiavelli in earlier blog posts (Machiavelli on Agile, for example), and find his musings right on target. Project managers have much to learn from Machiavelli’s observations. Just as Sun Tzu breaks down combat and strategy into multiple rules of war, so, too, does Machiavelli break down the rules of a leader in a “state” (here, I use state to address all forms of an organization). As leaders of projects, PMs will do well to work within their state to take on additional accountability for delivery. That accountability is seated in ensuring that projects realize their goals once implemented.
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