Our Iceberg Is Melting

by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber

We believe strongly that the world needs much more action from a broader range of people—action that is informed, committed, and inspired—to help us all in an era of increasing change.

Our Iceberg Is Melting is a simple fable about successfully  responding to change in an ever-changing world. Based on the award-winning work of Harvard's Dr. John P. Kotter, it is a story that has been used to help thousands of people and organizations.

The fable is about a penguin colony in Antarctica. A group of beautiful emperor penguins live as they have for many years. Then, one curious bird discovers a potentially devastating problem threatening their home, and when he raises the issue, no one listens to him.

The characters in the story, Fred, Alice, Louis, Buddy, the Professor, and NoNo, are like people we recognize — even ourselves. Their tale is one of resistance to change and heroic action, seemingly intractable obstacles, and the most clever tactics for dealing with those obstacles. 


Is Your Iceberg Melting?
It's a story that is occurring in different forms all around us today — but the penguins handle the very real challenges a great deal better than most of us. 


Our Iceberg Is Melting is based on pioneering work that shows how the 8-Step Process for Leading Change can succeed in creating 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 keeps moving faster and faster.


Success Stories with Iceberg

A large company with locations all over the world used Our Iceberg Is Melting to help communicate its change initiatives to every employee -- in six different languages.
See how


In the Summer of 2006, Professor Kotter received an email from someone who had drawn up and used a "business case" for Our Iceberg is Melting. How did it turn out?
Find the answer


How can you use Our Iceberg Is Melting in your company? The following gives examples of how one executive delivered the book throughout his organization. What happened?
Read the case


Is Your Iceberg Melting? Questions to ask:

  • What is your iceberg? Is it melting? Are there fissures?
  • What fissures do you see?
  • Are there any Freds or Alices willing to step up?
  • Does your organization have enough scouts?
  • Are the NoNos controlling the organization?
  • Are you most concerned with success in catching fish today or planning for what may come tomorrow?
  • Do you have a visible example of the case for change – your bottle?
  • Is there a clear and simple message about the future and what it may look like that is understood by all?
  • Is anyone willing to swim ahead?

Our Iceberg Is Melting Book Summary

On the surface, Our Iceberg Is Melting is a simple story of a colony of penguins facing a dilemma. But contained within the story and the characters is a powerful message about the fear of change and how to motivate people to face the future and take action. Individuals and organizations alike have used Our Iceberg Is Melting to help them understand what types of change they face, how change can be resisted against at first, and, finally, what to do in order to get people (or penguins) to support needed changes quickly. The book has won rave reviews from executives and leaders around the world, and many of them have already used the story to help build momentum for change inside their own organizations.

To help you understand the story a little bit better, we’d like to introduce you to some of the characters in the book below. The characters are all part of the same colony, yet each of them has their own unique perspective. You may recognize them as being like people in your organization, or even yourself!

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What We Do

We work with leaders to help them move organizations faster, with less chaos and more efficiency, enabling success no matter the obstacles. Combining deep business acumen and experience, we provide the guidance and education to help our clients lead the entire organization through the 8-Step Process for Leading Change.

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Books by Dr. John Kotter

Our Iceberg Is Melting is available for online purchase in a variety of formats. Choose below: