Change and Change Management Quotes
Top 50 Change and Change Management Quotes
No 1 (Best
We have it in our power to begin the world over
- Thomas (Tom)
Paine (1737-1809), English philosopher, pictured
In business, the status quo means inevitable failure.
- Thomas Watson Jnr (pictured
right) in A Business and Its
So he also said in the same book:
Complacency is the most natural and insidious disease of large corporations.
So Spencer Johnson (pictured right) in Who Moved My
Cheese? (1998) observes:
A change imposed is a change opposed.
Dumbledore in J.K.
Rowling's (pictured right) Goblet of Fire also says:
Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.
Change is an attitude of mind and the place to start is within ourselves.
- John Harvey-Jones, pictured right, Managing To
This is reflected in advice from other thinkers:
We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.
- Mahatma (Mohandas)
Gandhi (1869-1948), Indian leader and philosopher, pictured right.
Things do not change; we change.
- Henry David
Thoreau (1817-62), American philosopher, pictured right.
When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.
Franklin (1706-90), pictured right, American politician and inventor
Other great thinkers agree:
Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future.
- Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986),
French philosopher, pictured right.
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep good balance you must keep moving.
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955),
German-born American scientist, pictured right.
Resting on your laurels is as dangerous as resting when you are walking in the snow. You doze off and die in
Wittgenstein (1889-1951), the Austrian-born British philosopher (pictured right)
Change or die.
- Jack Welch (1935-),
American boss of General Electric (GE) 1981-2001 (pictured right)
Welch also says:
Change before you have to
Every organization has to prepare for the abandonment of everything it does.
- Peter Drucker (1909-2005), American management writer,
Loving change, tumult, even chaos is a prerequisite for survival, let alone success.
- Tom Peters (pictured right above ) in Thriving On
But Henry Mintzberg (pictured right) in his 1987 Harvard
Business Review article, Crafting Strategy says:
Obsession with change is dysfunctional.
The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.
- John Adams (1735-1826) , American president,
Two other great people agree:
The Revolution is made by man, but man must forge his revolutionary spirit from day to day.
- Ernesto (‘Che’) Guevara (1928–67), pictured right, the Argentinian revolutionary.
All political revolutions, not affected by foreign conquest, originate in moral revolutions.
- John Stuart
Mill (1806-73), English philosopher, pictured right.
But the Czech writer, Franz Kafka (1883-1924), pictured right, warns:
Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind the slime of a new bureaucracy.
Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.
- Samuel Johnson 1709–84 English writer, pictured right.
So two other writers say:
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
Douglass (1818-1895), African American abolitionist, pictured right.
People hate change.
- Scott Adams (pictured right) in The Dilbert Principle,1996
When people feel the wind, some build windmills and some build walls.
- Chinese proverb.
Isaac Newton (1642-1727), the
English scientist, pictured right. says something similar:
We build too many walls and not enough bridges
Our thoughts are clay, they are moulded with the changes of the days,
- Paul Bäumer (pictured right in the 1930 film) in All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich
There is nothing permanent except change.
- Heraclitus (c540-c480BC), Greek
philosopher, pictured right.
He also gives two tips on change:
Where there is no strife there is decay.
You cannot step twice into the same river.
If you want organizations to change, you have
to carry the staff with you.
- Greg Dyke (speaking in 2000 as the BBC’s Director General), pictured
Most of the change we think we see in life
Is due to truths being in and out of favour.
(from the poem, The Black Cottage, 1914)
- Robert Frost, American poet , pictured right above.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
(from the poem The Second Coming)
- W. B. Yeats 1865–1939 Irish poet, pictured right.
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and
spreads like wildfire.
- Malcolm Gladwell (pictured right) in The Tipping
The change master is partly a historian who knows which period of the past to honour and preserve while moving
toward a different future.
- Rosabeth Moss Kanter (pictured right) in
The Change Masters (1984)
By far the biggest mistake people make when trying to change organizations is to plunge ahead without
establishing a high enough sense of urgency in fellow managers and employees.
- John Kotter, pictured right, in Leading Change (1996)
Men are not prisoners of fate but only prisoners of their own minds,
- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945),
American president, pictured right.
Why is this?
Minds...are hard to change,
- Howard Gardner, pictured right, in Changing Minds (2006)
Because familiarity is such an important test of acceptability, the acceptable ideas have great stability...I
shall refer to these ideas henceforth as the conventional wisdom.
- John Kenneth (J. K.) Galbraith, pictured right,The Affluent Society (1958)
So Gary Hamel, pictured right. says in Leading
the Revolution (2000):
Familiarity is the enemy.
Change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.
Russell (1872-1970), English philosopher (pictured right).
On progress Russell comments:
The desire to understand the world and the desire to reform it are the two great engines of progress.
If things are to move upward, someone must take the first step and assume the risk
James (1842-1910), American psychologist and philosopher, pictured right.
Change begets change.
(from Martin Chuzzlewit)
- Charles Dickens
(1812-70), pictured right. English novelist.
Sloan (1875-1966), American boss of General Motors (1923-46), pictured right,
No company ever stops changing. Change will
come for better or worse,
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,
(last words of The Great
- Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), American writer, pictured right.
He not busy being born is busy dying.
- Bob Dylan, pictured right. - from his song, It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), a favourite
of Steve Jobs, Apple's legendary boss.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement.
- Ralph Waldo
Emerson (1803-1882), American writer and philosopher, pictured right.
We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the
power to imagine better.
- J.K. Rowling (1965- ), English
writer, pictured right.
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945),
American president 1933-45, pictured right..
We cannot change anything unless we accept it.
- Carl Jung (1875-1961), Swiss
psychiatrist, pictured right.
The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.
- Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81), pictured
right, English prime minister.
Have no fear of moving into the unknown,
- John Paul II (1920-2005), pictured right,
Change is the law of life.
- John F Kennedy (1917-63), pictured right,
The time to mend the
roof is when the sun is shining.
In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity.
Status quo, you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in’.
- Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) , American
president, pictured right.
When I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
Rogers (1902-87), the American psychologist (pictured right).
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present and
- Abraham Lincoln
(1809-65), pictured right, American president.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are
the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
- Barack Obama (1961-
), pictured right, American president.
Progress is attitude.
- Henry Ford (1863-1947),
American car maker, pictured right.
Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops.
- Tom Watson Sr. (1874-1956),
American founder of IBM, pictured right.
His son,Tom Jr., pictured right.
Every time we’ve moved ahead in IBM, it was because someone was willing to take a chance, put his head on the
block and try something new.
The only thing certain is nothing is certain.
- Michel de
Montaigne (1533-92), French writer and philosopher, pictured right.
Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.
- Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55),
Danish philosopher, pictured right.
The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers.
- Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527),
Italian philosopher, pictured right.
What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem.
- Eldridge Cleaver (1935–98) American political activist, pictured right.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.
- Anne Frank (1929-1945), Jewish victim of
the Holocaust, pictured right.
If the barometer is high and the clouds are black, don’t waste time on a debate on whether to take an
- John Maynard
Keynes (1883-1946), English economist, pictured right.
I guess some people never change. Or, they quickly change and then quickly change back.
- Homer Simpson, American cartoon
character, pictured right.
Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It
leads to sterility.
-Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish
artist, pictured right.
The wheel is come full circle.
(Edmund in King Lear)
Shakespeare (1564-1616), English playwright, pictured right above.
Contrary to popular wisdom, the proper first response to a changing world is not to ask, “How should we change?”
but rather to ask, “What do we stand for and why do we exist?
- Jim Collins, pictured right above. and Jerry
Porras, pictured right., Built to
Nothing drives progress like the imagination.
- Theodore (Ted) Levitt, pictured right,
Change is the process by which the future invades our lives,
- Alvin Toffler, pictured right, in Future Shock (1970)