Our Iceberg is Melting

‘Our  Iceberg is Melting’ is an interesting fable of how a colony of penguins overcome a looming threat, and a perplexing problem – the iceberg on which they live is melting – and find an effective new solution to counter it. It aims at helping readers change and succeed under any conditions through the tale of the penguins. 

Fables have captivated human minds from times immemorial. Within its simple storyline that is easy to remember is embedded profound truths and wise lesson(s). ‘Our Iceberg is Melting’ is no different and conveys quite graphically the modern day essentials of problem solving and the resulting change management. And when the fable is co-written by John Kotter,  the leadership and change management guru at the Harvard School of Business, it makes a compelling read. 

The book made me think about whether I was living on a melting iceberg or one that could melt. The authors, John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber say,  “Melting icebergs come in dozens of forms: product lines that are aging, schools that are becoming irrelevant, services that are decreasing in quality, a business strategy that makes little sense, a new strategy whose implementation is sinking into the ocean.”

Key takeaways from my reading of the book is the eight fold path that Kotter has come up with – distilled from his research on successful change management. 

The Eight Step process of successful change

Set the Stage

1.Create a sense of urgency : This refers to helping others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately.

2. Pulling together the Guiding Team: A powerful team needs to guide the change.  The team should have in them leadership skills, credibility, communication skills, authority, analytical skills and a sense of urgency. 

Decide what to do 

3. Develop the Change Vision and Strategy: Clarify how the future will be different from the past, and how it can make that future a reality. 

Make it Happen 

4. Communicate for Understanding and Buy in: Make sure that as many others as possible understand and accept the vision and the strategy. 

5. Empower others to Act: Remove as many barriers as possible so that those who want to make the vision a reality can do so. 

6. Produce Short-term Wins: Create some visible, unambiguous successes as soon as possible. 

7. Don’t let up: Press harder and faster after the first successes. Be relentless with initiating change after change until the vision is a reality. 

Make it Stick

8. Create a New Culture: Hold on to the new ways of behaving, and make sure they succeed, until they become strong enough to replace old traditions. 

The Role of Thinking and Feeling 

Thinking differently is essential to help change behaviour and lead to better results. 

  • Collect data, analyse it. 
  • Present the information logically to change people’s thinking. 
  • Changed thinking can, in turn, change behaviour. 

Feeling differently can change behaviour more and lead to even better results. 

  • Creating surprising, compelling, and,  if possible, visual experiences. 
  • The experiences change how people feel about a situation. 
  • A change in feelings can lead to a significant change in behaviour. 

Analysing a problem / intended change in four columns using the eight steps is a powerful tool for reflection. 

More tools for making change happen is available at http://www.ouricebergismelting.com http://www.theheartofchange.com http://www.johnkotter.com

Amazing changes can happen when all stakeholders are convinced and are on the same page with respect to change. 

This book is a must read for all including professionals and students. So, what is your iceberg? Is it melting? What’s the way forward??  Read, think and reflect – and embark on your journey to confront your problem and come up with ways of doable and practical problem solving. 

🌟🌟🌟🌟 is my rating for this book. 

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