Our Iceberg Is Melting

I read John Kotter's book, Leading Change, a couple years ago. At the time, I recognized it as really valuable information, but I was overwhelmed both by the book and apart from it. I remember thinking, "Yeah, this is good stuff...but who has time for it?"

There was no doubt that Kotter knew what he was talking about. He is the leadership and change guru at Harvard Business School. A pioneer. Internationally respected. Even revered.

Still, it wasn't until reading his fable, Our Iceberg Is Melting (Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions), coauthored with Holger Rathgeber, that I came to fully appreciate his genius. In this book, he relates the same eight-stage process for successful change as in Leading Change, but in a more accessible and memorable way (I would tell you what those are, but you really should just read the book; it's short).

Our Iceberg Is Melting is one of those cute little leadership parables, like Who Moved My Cheese? (by Spencer Johnson, M.D., who wrote the foreword for this book). But Kotter's and Rathgeber's Iceberg may be the best of the lot.

Predictably enough, Our Iceberg Is Melting tells the story of a community of penguins. One day, a curious penguin named Fred discovers that the iceberg appears to be melting. He tries to inform the appropriate authorities, and thus begins this fable on leading change. As I read, it all sounded so familiar. I recognized the characters. I even recalled occasions where I had done well and areas where I'd done poorly in past attempts at leading change.

I think it's a book every leader should read. It can be read in a single evening, but it can pay off for an entire lifetime.

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