Kisu Kisu – Pass It On

I’d be surprised if you haven’t played Kisu Kisu at sometime in your life. Some folk may know the game better as Whisper Down the Lane, Grapevine, Telephone or maybe Chinese Whispers. It’s a great fun game and often when people play it – they intentionally miscommunicate in order to make the end result more fun.

I recently wrote about the Death of Service and David K Waltz commented:

In my blog I often remark about siloism within companies. I think what ends up occurring in situations like yours is the game of telephone, where someone in the circle whispers a comment to the next, and by the time it has worked it’s way back around it is nothing like the original statement.

Overcoming this tendency is difficult, if not impossible – well organized and operated companies are rare, so I am sure your experience is common, unfortunately.

In organisations we have silos, we have chains of command, we have org charts (barf!), we have boundaries. And all these things serve to support Kisu Kisu and prevent conversation. Sure, when you play Kisu Kisu it can be great fun. But when you are in a company trying to solve a problem for a colleague or a customer, Kisu Kisi sucks, and conversation rocks.

My love of conversation is probably why I enjoy unconferences so much, and there are three coming up in the next few months that I’m pleased to be getting involved in.

Sukh and his team are getting the inaugural Learning and Development Connect event going on April 24th, Gareth and co. are delivering the fourth ConnectingHR unconference on May 16th, and Peter, Jonathan and me are bringing Stop Doing Dumb Things back again on June 27th.

These events are great for catching up with old friends, meeting new people and for learning and sharing ideas on how to make work better. It’s all about the conversation and I hope you can join in.

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

One thought on “Kisu Kisu – Pass It On”

  1. Imagine a customer tells their server their problem and the server understands maybe 70% of the real issue. The server tells their team leader, who understands maybe 70% of what they tell him (so, 49% of the customer’s original issue), who tells their boss, who gets 70%, etc, who tells the Board, who get 70%.

    So the Board understood, maybe, 24% of the issue and between them devise a policy and maybe even a strategy to help deal with this customer’s (and others’) important issue. They tell the manager who understands about 70% of what they tell him, etc, etc down the line back to the customer (who’s probably gone by now, anyway)

    The upshot is that, even when people communicate quite well (70% transmission is pretty good, I reckon), by the time the solution gets back to the customer it bears only about 6% connection to the customer’s issue.

    So, what’s to be done?
    Listen more, trust your people and eliminate hierarchy. Get out of the Way.

    As Southwest Airlines’ founder Herb Kelleher asked his people, “Use your best judgement at all times” and as he asked his managers, “Treat our people they way we want our people to treat our customers.” Life can be that simple, not always easy, but simple, real and very engaging.

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