Our Iceberg Is Melting

Whether you work in a business or the business of life, everyone from CEO’s to high school students can gain from what they take from this story – from the foreword by Spencer Johnson, author of Who Moved My Cheese?

Today, I am sharing my review on the book “Our Iceberg Is Melting” by John Kotter. John is an award winning author from Harvard Business School.

John beautifully explains how people digest the word CHANGE in their lives and he has also explained the methods to make the transition from your COMFORT ZONES to a new environment in your life as smooth as possible. Normally, whenever we encounter any change in our lives, we panic, we dislike the idea of letting go of our comfort zones and start blaming others. Sometimes, we even tend to turn a blind eye towards the big change coming in our lives and do nothing as to protect ourselves from the Change.

In the story “Our Iceberg Is Melting” he has taken the example of how a typical Penguin Colony from Antarctica deals with CHANGE and wins the situation by successfully adapting themselves to a totally new style of living inspired by a seagull.

The story contains 7 characters. These 7 characters are not just characters, they form the crux of the story. The 7 types of people symbolically indicate the characters we might have to deal with, when a certain change is brought into effect in our lives.

LOUIS : The Head Penguin. Patient. Conservative. Not easily flustered. Respected by all.

ALICE: Practical. Aggressive. Makes things happen. Doesn’t care about status and treats everyone the same. Impossible to intimidate. A fellow Penguin Boss

BUDDY: Boyishly handsome, not the slightest ambitious types. Well trusted and Liked. Story teller and Man of the people.

FRED: Younger, the Curious and Observant, the hero of the story.

PROFESSOR: Intelligent and Scientific

SALLY ANN: Young Kindergarten Kid

NO NO: The name says it all. Mr. Pessimist.

When Fred, observes that the Iceberg which has been a permanent habitat for their colony has numerous fissures and cavities through which the water has rushed in and can cause a huge threat of explosion during Winters, he is completely filled with dilemma. He confronts the question of whether to communicate the upcoming disaster to the Leadership Council or not. When finally he presents his opinion infront of Alice, she dives into the iceberg to confirm Fred’s statements. Being an aggressive boss, she makes it clear infront of the Leadership Council that this issue is not something that could be ignored. Louis, being the head Penguin understands the situation and thus starts their journey of finding a new solution to their threatening situation. Adding to all this Fred says they have just 2 months before the disaster actually hits them.

It is actually TRUE that CHANGE hits our lives when we least expect it to happen.

John Kotter, through this amazing story telling capabilities has brought in the 8 step model that every organization or a CEO/Person has to adapt in order to survive in an ever CHANGING environment.



It all starts with an effective communication regarding the CHANGE to fellow Penguins. Then comes the nightmares of comments and opinions from people like NO NO who always say a NO to any solution presented by their fellow companions. Louis makes sure that the Leadership Council, the Middle Management and the Chicks are all on the same page to adapt their new model. By ensuring that all are on the same page, Louis achieves that ICEBERGS do not define PENGUINS. No matter how threatening the ICEBERGS will be, the PENGUINS can still conquer them using their 8 STEP MODEL to mitigate the CHANGE MANAGEMENT RISKS in future.

Louis redesigns their entire Leadership Council. Alice makes sure lots of young people are recruited for certain crucial decision making processes and Fred, Buddy, and Professor help the council by providing the right path for implementation of these changes in the colony.

In the end, the entire colony forgets about NO NO and people happily adapt towards the NOMADIC LIFE as suggested by the Leadership Council.

How beautiful it would be if all the organizations in this world would communicate CHANGE in the 8 step model instead of thumping it onto the heads of people out of the blue. The best part of this fable is that it is apt for all genres and all sorts of people. Change is not just limited to only organizations, as Individuals we too are targets for certain changes in our lives. The 8 step model simplifies the confusion and leads us to a more simpler way of handling changes in our lives.

2 thoughts on “Our Iceberg Is Melting

    1. Mayur, there are no standard rules for managing anything. Sometimes, you just have to do keeping the end result in mind. 8 Step 2 step all these are just reference points that’s it. Ultimately, we all have to keep in mind that we deal with Humans and not machines.

      Yes. I just started writing reviews of books which I have read recently. The book reviews are for my reference something similar to #LessonsLearnt

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