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Our Iceberg is Melting

Author: John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber, 2005

Through a simple fable, this quick-read book demonstrates why change is HARD.  It takes John Kotter’s Eight Steps to Leading Change and makes it accessible and interesting to anyone.  

Change happens all around us, It is business…and it is personal.  In Our Iceberg is Melting a group of penguins discovers that survival of their colony means they must move off their endangered iceberg and find a new home.  The story evolves as those in favor of the move clash with those who don’t believe or understand the crisis, and illustrates how a group of individuals (penguins in this case) committed to progress and survival can change the hearts and minds of those who fear change of any sort. Kotter’s Eight Steps are nicely illustrated as the change-agent penguins help the others to understand the emergency and make the move.

Written in a compelling, simple, yet non-condescending voice, Iceberg is an engaging read for people of almost any occupation, educational level, age, or ethnicity.  Anyone involved in change at any level, will be able to quickly understand Kotter’s Eight Steps and be able to embrace the concepts.  Teams of people involved in corporate change effort will find in it a new language to use in talking about the changes and the reactions to the changes taking place around them.  Where it is sometimes hard to talk about negative or recalcitrant people, it’s comparatively easier to talk about the “no-no” penguins and the “forward scouts.”  

I have used this book in the way described above and have watched whole organizations embrace the wisdom in it.  I encourage change leaders to distribute this book among the employees affected by a change, so that the Eight Step process can become part of the culture of change in the organization and everyone can speak about it with ease and confidence.