James Shippy - Book Review - Iceberg melting summary


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James Shippy, Book Review, Submitted to Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Professor, PVAMU, The Texas A&M University System

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James Shippy - Book Review - Iceberg melting summary

  1. 1. Reflection<br />“Our Iceberg is Melting”<br />(Book Review)<br /> <br />James E. Shippy<br />Ph.D. Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A & M University<br />Submitted to<br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD<br />Professor and Faculty Mentor<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership<br />Prairie View A & M University<br />Member of the Texas A & M University System<br />Introduction<br />Our Iceberg is Melting is an excellent book that provides the reader with information regarding managing change and transition to improve your daily life. Our lives are about constant change both personally and in the workplace and each one of us must be able to respond to the challenges of change as well as make the necessary adjustments in life. The essential element in managing change and transition is our behavior which is the result of our value system. The axiology of ourselves is reflected in the culture of our values and attitude. Lewis and Smith (1994) argued that culture values, norms, and attitudes are central principles of quality improvement. <br />Purpose of the Reflection<br />The purpose of this reflection is to discuss how the message in the book, Our Iceberg is Melting, applies to my daily life. This reflection will incorporate managing change and transition, teamwork, values, norms, and attitude and how each of these activities applies to my daily life. The daily life activities will include the workplace and personal life improvements as well as my doctoral studies. The reflections of this paper will be an asset to me by providing ways of improving my overall life and how I can assist others in improving their lives.<br /> <br />Managing Change and Transition<br />Our Iceberg is Melting is a story of penguins who are very comfortable with their present existence until a curious penguin named Fred discovered one day as result of curiosity that their iceberg was melting. The iceberg was the foundation of the penguins’ existence and without it they would perish. Fred had the courage to inform Alice who is a member of the Leadership Council about condition of the iceberg. Alice was a penguin who got things done and would listen to Fred. Fred had the opportunity to encourage Alice to look at the iceberg and after examining the iceberg she was convinced the colony of penguins need to take action to the possibility of losing their way of life. Fred and Alice had to convince the Leadership Council to take action regarding the potential collapse of the iceberg. <br />The potential collapse of the iceberg is similar to an organization that is stuck in tradition but needs to adapt to the changing world and conditions. For example, at my workplace this researcher provides student customer services professional development to insure students receive the best quality services. In addition it is important that employees become aware of any activity that may impact the operations of the college and inform the administration. For example, we purchased the software system, Who’s Next, a sign-in system that tracks students use of services which helps this researcher to make recommendations regarding budget, services, and personnel. Our Iceberg is Melting is a reminder to accept change and transition in an effort to move the organization in new directions. <br />Change and transition has had a significant impact in this researcher’s life. For example, enrolling in doctoral classes has had impact. After many years of being a college administrator and many years from being a college student I had to make adjustments to study, such as attending classes, studying, writing papers and providing documentations. For example, one of the significant changes was writing papers with multiple pages because as an administrator the less you write is the most effective way to get things done and for others to understand your message. Colleagues desire information to be short and to the point and often don’t have the luxury of time to do a great deal of reading and writing. In addition to doctoral studies the potential change in the iceberg reminds this researcher to insure that family resources are intact during the present uncertain economic times. /For example, this researcher is constantly observing gasoline prices at the pump. Gasoline prices is one the most expensive items we have to purchase and it is important to keep the usage in sync with the total budget.<br />Teamwork<br />Fred and Alice had to convince the Leadership Council to take action regarding the iceberg. Louis was the head penguin of the Leadership Council similar to a college president or superintendent and had to be convinced to allow Fred to speak before the Leadership Council. Fred was given the opportunity to present a power point presentation to the council and some members were not convinced such as a penguin name NoNo. NoNo, the penguin, is similar to an individual that says no to every idea even if the change represents a positive adjustment for the organization. After experiencing many debates and suggestions, Fred noticed a seagull flying and eventually the penguins found the bird. The seagull told the penguins he was a scout looking for new place to live. The seagull represented new ways of doing things and would report his findings to his group. As a team the seagulls had to work together to get to their new place of residence. The penguins would also form teams to deal with their iceberg dilemma. Teamwork provides individuals the opportunity to provide input in the decision- making process. This researcher believes in receiving input from members in the organization. Ideas are generated by people, not positions or titles. For example, the staff development day this year was combined with another college and the idea came from one of our team members not the leadership. Also there are opportunities at home for input for family members in the decision-making process. For example, my son was a major factor in determining what car not to purchase. Leadership is a central aspect for inspiring employees to get involve at all levels. The process to deal with an activity must start with a team approach in which individuals are involved in the decision-making process.<br />Values, Norms, and Attitudes<br />In the process of deciding how to deal with the iceberg, it is critical that the penguin Leadership Council is aware of the culture of values, norms, and attitudes of the penguin colony. The culture values, norms, and attitudes of leaders Lewis and Smith (1994) demonstrated are a central principle of quality improvement. Leadership is a central aspect for inspiring employees to get involve at all levels. Leaders must receive involvement from a team process that helps individuals appreciate the values, norms, and attitudes of the organization and to assist in the development of a total quality organization. <br />According to Lewis and Smith (1994),<br />Five functions are critical for setting and maintaining a direction driven by the principles of total quality management and continuous improvement: 1) implement leadership for quality, 2) develop an organizational mission for quality improvement, 3) create a vision that inspires everyone to seek quality in all aspects of their work, 4) generate a culture that encourages quality improvement efforts at all levels, and 5) establish overarching goals and objectives consistent with the principles of total quality and continuous improvement. (p.113)<br />According to George and Jones (2002) the challenge for school administrators is to inspire organizational members to behave in positive ways not because they have to but because they think it is the right and proper way to behave in the organization. For example, Dell Computer has a training program for new employees in which they learn the basic values and norms that are part of their organization and demonstrate excellent service to their stakeholders (George and Jones, 2002). The goal of the process is to help the members learn values, norms, and attitudes of the organization, to help the organization develop an excellent plan and to develop a process that involves everyone in the organization. The organizational climate is a reflection of the values, norms, and attitudes of the organization. As an administrator this researcher is aware that employees’ attitudes are significant in how they do their jobs. ”We want people with positive attitudes, who enjoy helping others” (Perkins, 2000, p. 49). During this researcher first year as Dean of Student Development employees were to email their birthday month and day. Each month this researcher sends birthday wishes to everyone. For example, if it is April a birthday wish is sent by email to everyone born in April and every other employee is encouraged to wish their colleagues a happy birthday. The response to the happy birthday wishes are tremendous each month. This researcher had one employee shed happy tears because it was the first time in her life someone had wished her a happy birthday in the workplace. Also in my daily life, I constantly display a positive attitude which some people say is a gift of mine. I often share my experiences with others so that people can motivate themselves. For example, one cohort in the doctoral program has utilized several things I said in class to motivate students at his school. <br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, Our Iceberg is Melting is an excellent story about change and transition and a new way of doing things. The story also deals with a sense of urgency, working as a team to solve challenges, seeking new possibilities, empowering others in the organization to provide input, and being persistence in creating a new way of doing things. A postmodern way of thinking provided the penguins a way of thinking to solve problems. For example, the seagull provided the penguins another way thinking to solve their problem by introducing scouting for new icebergs. Finally, we must not forget to celebrate our successes and stay busy with family activities such as creating new family members (Kotter and Ratbgeber, 2005).<br /> <br /> REFERENCES<br />Kotter, J, & Rathgeber, H. (2005). Our iceberg is melting. New York, NY: St. Martin’ Press.<br />Lewis, R.G., & Smith, D.H. (1994)). Total quality in higher education. Delray Beach. Fl: St. Lucie Press.<br />Perkins, D. (2000). Leading at the edge. New York, NY: American Management Association.<br />