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Our Iceberg Is Melting Hardcover – Illustrated, September 5, 2006
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About the Author
John Kotter has been on the faculty at Harvard Business School since 1972. He is the author of eleven award-winning titles and frequently gives speeches and seminars at Harvard and around the world. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Holger Rathgeber spent his early professional career in Asia. He has worked in industry since the early 1990's and is now with one of the leading medical technology companies, Bectom Dickinson. Raised in Frankfurt, Germany, Rathgeber currently resides in White Plains, New York.
From Publishers Weekly
Harvard Business School professor Kotter, author of the bestselling Leading Change (1996), teams up with executive Rathgeber to offer his contribution to the "business fable" genre. Kotter presents his framework for an effective corporate change initiative through the tale of a colony of Antarctic penguins facing danger-inspired, perhaps, by today's real-life global warming crisis (or, perhaps, by March of the Penguins' box office). Under the leadership of one particularly astute bird, a small team of penguins with varied personalities and leadership skills implement a thoughtful plan for coaxing the other birds in their colony through a time of necessary but wrenching change. The logic of Kotter's fictional framework is wobbly at times-his characters live and act very much like real penguins except that one carries a briefcase and another ("the Professor") cites articles from scholarly journals-and the whimsical tone will not be to everyone's taste. However, this light, quick read should fulfill its intended purpose: to serve as a springboard for group discussions about corporate culture, group dynamics and the challenges of change.
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Top Customer Reviews
I’m researching leading with a sense of urgency and I have been reading a lot of John Kotter. I was intrigued by the fable concept.
This book was about
One penguin releases the iceberg they are living on is melting. This is the story of how he gets others involved to discover what they should do as a group to avoid disaster.
Things I liked about this book
As a fable, it tells a great story of these penguins,coming together and finding a way to reasonably work and find a solution to their community’s impending problem.
Why you should read this book
This book is a great encouragement that if we listen to each other and find ways to work together, we can solve many problems in community.
This book lived up to the back cover copy
The fable is a great illustration of how problems can be identified, tackled and solved by working together.
If you enjoyed Who Moved My Cheese? you will enjoy this story, too.
Kotter's engaging story introduces the 8 principles of problem solving. This can be used in a variety of venues from business, church, child raising, sports, etc. Kotter illustrates how the penguins, faced with a tumultuous dilemma, identified the problem, created urgency, developed a team-building structure, and stepped outside the box. Along the way, the story is entertaining and includes a diverse array of skepticism, cynicism and other challenges that we all face.
The book is also very well illustrated and can easily be read in a couple of hours. It is also readable for almost any age level and would probably make a good reading lesson for children as well. They will certainly be entertained, if not captivated by the illustrations and side notes. Well done.
An astute penguin named Fred observes that the iceberg the colony lives on is melting and that they will face potential disaster if it breaks apart in the middle of winter. He proceeds to present his findings to Alice, a member of the leadership council. Once the need for action is realized, there is no small amount of squabbling amongst the council as to next steps.
They eventually determine to let the rest of the colony know of the great risks and solicit ideas for solutions. After arriving at a creative solution through interactions with a seagull, they implement a migratory initiative to seek out new icebergs. The change is not without detractors who question the findings and argue for maintaining the status quo without addressing the risks of the melting iceberg. However, through strong leadership of the head penguin and a small action team, the penguins drove efforts to eventually relocate to a safer home.
The story has multiple examples of personalities seen commonly in organizations. There are those who are interested in arguing for the sake of arguing, the cautious, the hard driving but consensus building leaders, the creative but sometimes ignored penguins, the naysayers, those being academic in mindset but who ask tough questions, and those who just want everyone to be happy, among others.
Kotter and Rathgeber use the story to demonstrate an eight step process of successful change which includes:
1. Create a Sense of Urgency
2. Pull Together a Guiding Team
3. Develop the Change Vision and Strategy
4. Communicate for Understanding and Buy In
5. Empower Others to Act
6. Produce Short-term Wins
7. Don't Let Up
8. Make It Stick
The book is fun, has great change management principles, and can be read in no more than an hour or so. While change for change's sake is not necessarily wise, for those in any organization facing challenges, this book provides easy to understand concepts for managing change.