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Our Iceberg is Melting Essay

The book, Our Iceberg is Melting is a fable about the changes taking place across the world. The book, written by a Harvard professor, John Kotter, is a story that is based on the simple realities of every day lives in the business world. The penguin colony in Antarctica is one of the colonies taken up to evaluate the impact of and the ideology of change. The paper goes on to evaluate the characters involved and the eight step process of change, used to understand these characters, and further on, the theories of leadership and change along with the learning outcomes.

The paper describes the various elements of the book in detail and then specifies it to one of the business problems being faced today, motivation of employees in the current global scenario. US is facing problems in terms of liquidity and credit crisis as the sub prime mortgage industry plummeted and its effects cascaded through out the economy. This is the iceberg being faced today and the paper highlights various elements of the book relating them to the iceberg. The Characters in the Colony The story is about a colony of 260 penguins, who discover a problem of magnanimous proportions.

Their homeland, an iceberg, and their lives are getting affected by the icebergs which are melting and eliminating their homes. Nobody is ready to listen to them on this issue, and they have to solve and sort out this problem on their own. The various characters involved in the story are Fred, Alice, Louis, Buddy, the Professor and No No. The five penguins sans No No came up with a solution after collaborating with the sea gulls and decide that the best way to survive would be to migrate and start life afresh in some other area.

Their collaboration and combined synergy helped them find a solution to a life threatening which otherwise they would not have been able to find, individually. Considering the book’s characters and the current economic conditions, we have to come up with strategic solutions that counter the depressive economy and help boost employment, reducing the liquidity crunch being faced today by the US. We have to find people like Fred and Alice who are proactive and ready to assist in finding logical solutions for the crisis situation of the US Economy.

Moreover, people like Louis, Buddy and the Professor are required who can come up with solutions, the vision and strategies for the purpose of finding solutions and enacting them. The book has various aspects that pertain to the corporate culture and environment, where problems exist and their solutions need to be sought. There are several books out in the market that pertain to change and its particularities, however, this book maintains and explains in a very basic way, how change can be successful through Kotter’s eight step process of successful change.

In the corporate world, the major problem being faced today is how to motivate employees to perform their best in the global scenario being faced today. There has been a major liquidity crisis all across the world, inflation has been on the rise, and people are concerned about their personal problems pertaining to money particularly saving. In this case, motivation to work has gone down and individuals are thinking more on the lines of how to successfully keep their jobs, when their peers are being laid off.

Due to the multitude of problems that have counter effects like inflation and decreased motivation to work, people are confused as well as concerned about their situation and their surroundings. The US economy was flourishing and unemployment was at the lowest of levels while people were earning and spending. Now, individuals are concerned regarding their savings and how to keep continuing on with their expenses and credit and still save their job.

Kotter’s Eight Step Process of Successful Change The eight steps are divided into four stages: 1. Set the stage 2. Decide what to do 3. Make it happen 4. Make it stick Situational leadership in this case would help establish a team which shall need to be guided on the problem of motivating employees and finding the right vision and strategies for the problem. Additionally, the team can combine with the employees to work on and establish practices that help in motivation and making it a reality.

Culture of the organization will need to be adapted in order to allow motivational elements to be incorporated and allow employees to understand and evaluate their worth for the organization. Situational leadership will play a big role as this will help in grasping the current situation and taking the team along, to evaluate the problem at hand, and its solution. Solving the problem of lack of jobs and the economic crisis of America is not an easy task. However, it is one which needs to be undertaken and rectified before this crisis deepens and cascades down further into the society.

Lack of jobs is primarily since a lot of organizations have closed their doors as a result of cost cutting measures. In this case, cost cutting measures can be undertaken without cutting jobs by eliminating unnecessary steps and processes along the way. A vision has to be developed which includes keeping the existing jobs and taking in employees at lower salaries. A well rounded strategy should include reengineering of business processes and procedures in order to cut costs and not jobs.

New industries need to be explored which are not well developed as yet. This can help balance the economy and create new jobs. These strategies need to be implemented and monitored so that the same scenario that caused the economy’s downside does not happen again. However, a realistic approach would be to understand that the economy always follows a cycle and recessionary troughs are as real as the booming peaks of the economic cycle. Reference: Kotter, J and Rathgeber, H. Our Iceberg is Melting. Publisher: Pan Macmillan, 2006.


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