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It may be true that fortune is the ruler of half our actions, but she allows the other half or thereabouts to be governed by us.
I, NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, offer to you my conclusions resulting from a review of the actions of great executives. In so doing, I first desire to defend my morality, which detractors, both ecclesiastical and secular, have slandered with Medician malice. Have I not abjured villainy as a method of gaining control? I have observed that in the case of Agothocles, the Sicilian, it cannot be called virtue to kill one's fellow citizens, betray one's friends, be without faith, without pity, and without religion (chapter VIII). Is this not proof enough of my personal morality? One's personal views, however, should not becloud objectivity when offering administrative advice.
On Taking Over
In a recent letter of application to Lorenzo the Magnificent, I evaluated the effect which the manner of assuming leadership may have upon subsequent operations. Those observations apply equally to your situation.
Employees will have distinct reactions to the different ways by which executives acquire positions. If in recognition of proven abilities, employees are aware that the appointees owe little to others, except perhaps good fortune; they are their own men" (VI). If through the efforts of friends, more difficulty is required in order to maintain than to acquire the position; employees will be only too eager to contribute to the inconstant and unstable good will and fortunes of those who helped (VII). If by villainy, the villainous acts undertaken to secure appointment should not be persisted in because employees, owing to continual fresh injuries, will be unable to depend upon the executive (VIII).
Regardless of the executive's method of appointment, in general employees change masters willingly, hoping to better themselves. This belief makes them move against their rulers, in which they are deceived as experience later proves that they have gone from bad to worse (III).
Because employees do change masters willingly, a new executive should not be concerned over the loyalty of staff, as some …