I have worked in a number of different companies around the world in a wide variety of roles: Consultant, Business Development, HR, Strategic management, Entrepreneur and even CEO. Over the years, and with the valuable education I obtained through my business school classes, I began studying patterns in the way companies structure themselves internally and build their corporate culture. I was fascinated by the extent to which such corporate cultures would influence the people working for the organization beyond the obvious manifestations, but also how the company's environment would react to it directly or indirectly : its clients, suppliers, and public opinion.
I looked through the existing body of literature and research in the fields of Organizational Behavior, Marketing, and Strategy to find a unifying theory or idea that would help me better understand the essence of such corporate cultures and perhaps predict their evolutions over time. I picked up bits and pieces of information here and there, but I found it to be unsatisfactory on several grounds. The research was either too complex and heavily reliant on numbers, which made it hard for novices such as myself to grasp, or required a background in psychology to decipher. I did find some principles to be particularly appealing, all the way from Maslow to Skinner, which encouraged me to continue my quest in different directions.
I stumbled on Machiavelli quite by accident, spanning the classics in search of enlightenment halfway through Socrates, Aristotle and Sun Tzu. My initial intent on reading "The Prince" was to understand Machiavelli's vision of power, management, and Ethics. But I obtained so much more than I bargained for... Machiavelli's words and principles resonated with what I knew of strategic management and the flow of power from, to, and inside a corporation. I could recognize advanced principles of management that were developed in the 20th century in simple Renaissance allegories. Ideas cascaded on me, telling a coherent story which at the same time sounded intrinsically complex with hundreds of potential ramification. It was an eye-opening moment for me, and I proceeded to synthesize, correlate, analyze and take apart Machiavelli's Magnus Opus.
The decision to write a book and share my impressions with the world was not an easy one, more so as the subject is controversial and Machiavelli is associated with ruthless pragmatism and evil intents in the public's mind. I must confess that this was my view when I began reading "The Prince", as I braced myself to uncover what I could only assume would be malevolent concepts of how to apply oppression and tyranny on unsuspecting individuals. Nevertheless, I felt that the world would benefit from "re-discovering" Machiavelli in a new light and see how his theories fitted so perfectly with our current business environment. If I am judged on the basis of what I defend, then I am prepared to incur the scorn and contempt of those who disagree with me, and who will have the benefit of 500 years of negative association with Machiavelli's work and persona on their side.
It took me four years and innumerable deletions, adjustments, reviews, changes and second opinions before I had a version of my work which I and others who helped me put it together deemed ready to be shown to the world. It was a harrowing journey and I almost abandoned the project on several occasions, but what kept me on track was the prospect of sharing my ideas with you, the reader. So here we are at last, I hope you enjoy the Machiavelli Model, and most importantly, that you begin to see for the Strategic Management genius he truly is.
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