A reading club with a view to the future

532 John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber: Our Iceberg Is Melting

A captivating fable that teaches essential lessons about managing change, embracing uncertainty, and leading successful transformations.



"Our Iceberg Is Melting" is a charming and insightful fable that takes place in a penguin colony facing an impending crisis. The story follows a curious penguin named Fred who discovers that their beloved iceberg is melting and will eventually lead to their extinction. Fred teams up with a diverse group of penguins, each representing different personalities and perspectives, to address the crisis. Through their journey, they learn valuable lessons about the process of change, resistance to change, building consensus, taking action, and inspiring others. With its simple yet powerful storytelling, the book offers practical guidance on how to navigate through change and lead successful transformations in both personal and professional contexts.


  1. Title: Our Iceberg Is Melting
  2. Authors: John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber
  3. Publishing Year: 2006
  4. Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  5. Length in Hours: 2 hrs and 9 mins

5 main ideas

  1. Change is Inevitable: Recognize that change is a constant reality and embracing it is essential for survival and growth.
  2. Overcoming Resistance: Understand the different sources of resistance to change and find effective ways to address them.
  3. Building Consensus: Create a shared sense of urgency and purpose, engage others, and build consensus to achieve collective goals.
  4. Taking Action: Develop a clear plan of action, empower individuals to take ownership, and encourage experimentation and learning.
  5. Inspiring Others: Lead by example, communicate effectively, and inspire others to embrace change and contribute to the overall success of the transformation.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Sometimes we need to slide on our bellies to get where we want to go." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber
  2. "The fish is not always the size it looks when it jumps out of the water." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber
  3. "We don't have to always follow the path of least resistance. Sometimes we just need to waddle with a purpose." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber
  4. "Dreaming is easy; living the dream is more difficult." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber
  5. "When your environment changes, you adapt. If you can't adapt, you die or move to Florida." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Change starts when someone sees the next step." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber
  2. "No penguin can truly know where it's going until he or she knows where the group is headed." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber
  3. "Problems cannot be solved by simply ignoring them or pretending they don't exist." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber
  4. "It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber
  5. "Leadership is about finding a new path, not about making one." - John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber

5 dilemmas

  1. Resistance to Change vs. Embracing Change: The penguin colony faces a dilemma between those who resist change and prefer to stick to familiar ways and those who recognize the need for change and are willing to embrace it for the sake of their survival.
  2. Individual Interest vs. Collective Interest: Some penguins prioritize their personal interests and comfort over the collective interest of the entire colony. This dilemma highlights the importance of aligning individual motivations with the larger goals and vision of the group.
  3. Tradition vs. Innovation: The penguins grapple with the tension between holding onto traditions and exploring innovative approaches to address the melting iceberg crisis. This dilemma highlights the need for balancing respect for the past with the necessity of adapting to new circumstances.
  4. Short-Term Gains vs. Long-Term Sustainability: Some penguins are tempted by short-term solutions that provide immediate benefits but may compromise the long-term survival of the colony. This dilemma emphasizes the importance of considering the broader consequences and making decisions that prioritize long-term sustainability.
  5. Complacency vs. Urgency: The penguins must overcome the challenge of complacency, where some individuals fail to recognize the urgency of the situation and the need for immediate action. This dilemma underscores the importance of fostering a sense of urgency and mobilizing collective efforts to address pressing challenges.

5 examples

  1. Google - The penguin colony utilizes the power of Google to gather information and find possible solutions to their melting iceberg problem.
  2. Mary - A penguin who represents a skeptical and resistant member of the colony, hesitant to accept the need for change.
  3. Louis - A visionary penguin who takes the initiative to explore new possibilities and inspires others to do the same.
  4. Pete - A penguin who struggles with fear and uncertainty but eventually finds the courage to face the challenges and contribute to the transformation.
  5. Morgan - A wise and experienced penguin who serves as a mentor, providing guidance and sharing valuable insights with the group.

Referenced books

  1. "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni
  2. "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson
  3. "Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard" by Chip Heath, Dan Heath
  4. "Leading at a Higher Level" by Ken Blanchard
  5. "The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact" by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Share a quote

"When your environment changes, you adapt. If you can't adapt, you die or move to Florida."

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