Laws of Power – 45

Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once: Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt. If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old ways of doing things. If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.

This is a law where I could cite so many written references; recapitulate many leadership and management college lectures, and moments that I might draw upon from personal experience. I think a really great vignette is being played out by our President, Mr. Obama right now. Personally, I move faster than the average bear, so, I appreciate his tempo. What I am witnessing is enclaves of people who are revolting in a sense to some of this change. My advice to anyone in this position would be that the more decisive and immediate you are able to enact change, the better. The attention span of the masses is short and by keeping the change trauma to a shorter moment versus the protracted event, the greater your chances for success will be. This principle might be best illustrated by childbirth? How painful and traumatic an experience it seems to be giving birth. Why would a woman knowingly go through it naturally a second time unless she forgets the trauma and how it physically felt only replacing it with fierce attachment to the thing that caused her so much pain. I think leaders should take notes as this demonstrates the phenomenon I suggest.