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If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book review: Our Iceberg is Melting – Changing and succeeding under any conditions

Authors: John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber, 2005

An eight step model that is explained through a fable about an emperor penguin colony in Antarctica and how they deal with problems and change. I recommend reading and passing on this book. It’s fun, easy, informative, and thought provoking. What character or style do I identify with? How do I/do we try and bring about change? and more.  

The eight-step model to change is divided into four sections. I will briefly mention the sections and steps. For the real meat you’ll have to read the book, like many leaders and complete groups of employees have done.

Set the stage

Step 1
Reduce complacency and increase the sense of urgency. Help others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately.

Step 2
Pull together a team to guide the needed change. Make sure it is a powerful group, one with leadership skills, credibility, communications ability, authority, analytical skills and a sense of urgency.

Decide what to do

Step 3
Create a vision of a new future, a change vision and strategy. Clarify how the future will be different from the past, and how you can make that future a reality.

Make it happen

Step 4
Communicate the new vision in many different ways and repeatedly – communicate for understanding and buy-in. Make sure as many others as possible understand and accept the vision and the strategy.

Step 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.

Step 6
Produce short-term wins. Create some invisible, unambiguous successes as soon as possible.

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

Make it Stick

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

This is a very brief description of Kotter’s eight step model, but it provides you with the main idea on his model for bringing about change. Also highlighted in this book: The role of thinking and feeling:

Thinking differently can help change behavior and lead to better results.
-       Collect data, analyze it.
-       Present the information logically to change people’s thinking.
-       Changed thinking, in turn, can change behavior.

Feeling differently can change behavior 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 behavior.

The question you may ask yourself after reading the book or this summary: “What is my ‘iceberg’ and how can I use what I discover in this story?”.

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