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Our Iceberg Is Melting

Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber

From the jacket… Our Iceberg Is Melting is based on pioneering work that shows how Eight Steps produce needed change in any sort of group. It’s a story that can be enjoyed by anyone while at the same time providing invaluable guidance for a world that just keeps moving faster and faster.

pg 73 Louis began the colony’s assembly by saying, “Fellow penguins, as we meet this challenge – and we definitely will – it is more important than ever to remember who we really are.”

The crowd looked blankly at him.

“Tell me, are we penguins who deeply respect one another?”

There was silence until someone said, “Of course.” The others said, “Yes.”

Nono was in the middle of the audience trying to figure out what scheme was afoot. It was not obvious yet, which he did not like.

Louis continued. “And do we strongly value discipline?” “Yes,” a dozen or so of the elderly birds.

“And do we have a strong sense of responsibility, too?” It was hard to argue with that. It had been true for generations. “Yes,” many now agreed.

“Above all, do we stand for brotherhood and the love of our young?” A loud “Yes!” followed.

The Head Penguin paused. “And tell me…are these beliefs and shared values linked to a large piece of ice?” “NO!”

pg 110 The scouts discussed what they had found. The Professor asked question after question after question to distinguish opinions from facts. His style did not make him popular with all the birds – he could not have cared less – but it was very effective.

pg 117 The next season, the scouts found a still better iceberg, larger and with richer fishing grounds. And through it was tempting to declare that the colony had been subjected to enough change, and should stay forever on their new home, they didn’t. They moved again. It was a critical step: not becoming complacent again and not letting up.

pg 123 He talked about Fred’s finding that the iceberg was melting, then how they
1) created a sense of urgency in the colony to deal with a difficult problem,
2) put a carefully selected group in charge of guiding the change,
3) found the sensible vision of a better future,
4) communicated that vision so others would understand and accept it,
5) removed as many obstacles to action as was practical,
6) created some sort of success quickly,
7) never let up until the new way of life was firmly established, and
8) finally, ensured that the changes would not be overcome by stubborn, hard-to-die traditions.

pg 133 The Role of Thinking and Feeling

Thinking differently can help change behaviour and lead to better results.
– collect data and analyze it
– present the information logically to change people’s thinking
– changed thinking, in turn, can change behaviour

Feeling differently can change behaviour MORE and lead to even better results.
– create 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

pg 135 Additional Resources
Leading Change by John P Kotter
The Heart of Change by John by Kotter

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