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.

Engage Better!

For the real leaders of engagement, our next Engagement Unconference will be on 27 June 2012.

Our first Engagement Unconference in November 2011 surpassed our highest hopes, and having listened to and acted on the feedback from you, this time we’re making it even better!

Leaders from Aviva, Barclays, Redgate, Rio Tinto, Sky and more came together for a day full of ideas and stories about how to use technology, structure and strategy, but most of all authentic leadership to engage people and purpose.

Yell’s Kayleigh Quelch described the first Unconference as, “A real inspiration!….I left with so many fresh ideas, so much future hope!”

We are restricting numbers to just 80 places to protect real dialogue, and 11 of those have already been booked by people who came last time. If you believe in people as much as we think you do, you’ll be one of the next 69 engaging leaders to join us.

  • We will keep the world café and the multiple conversations that everyone valued so much.
  • We will keep the art minutes record of the day, the twitterfall and the live blogging
  • We will add input in 7-minute, expert talks about what’s new to generate fresh dialogue.
  • We will have a debate to add more excitement, “Is HR good for engagement?” Yes, no or maybe? You’ll hear strong views and strong challenges because debate can often be an entertaining form of dialogue.

Why come?

Not just because you will learn things to make your business more money, though you will.

Not just because you will learn things to make your business more efficient, though you will.

Not just because you you will learn how to keep your customers longer, though you will.

Come because you know that engaging people, colleagues, customers and community, is the right thing to do, the right way to run your business, the right way to be and because you want to learn with other engaging thinkers.

Come because you want to really engage your people; not just some of your people, some of the time, but all of all of your people, all of the time.

Can you imagine how good work is when all your colleagues engage all of their energy, empathy and attention to achieve great things together? When you are all together on a mission! It is the most wonderful feeling. You’ll feel that on the day!

“An outstanding experience!” Peter Burton, ROTA-UK

We are Doug Shaw of What Goes Around, Peter Massey of Budd-UK and Jonathan Wilson of Humap UK and we look forward to welcoming you at the Second Engagement Unconference at The Spring on 27 June 2012.



I have been sent a sad tale of unrequited love. So heartbroken is the author, they wish to remain nameless. Grab a tissue and read on:

“I’ve been a content Vodafone pay monthly customer for 8 years.  My contract is due to expire this April and normally, Vodafone’s upgrade team has been very efficient and helped me to get the best new deal as well as regular new handsets every couple of years.

With impending contract renewal looming, I decided to shop around.  My first port of call, naturally (as a loyal customer) was Vodafone.  I looked at upgrade options in their store and spoke to some pleasant staff members.  However, the upgrade deals they were offering me, cost MORE per month than I was currently paying, while I would receive LESS calls / texts / mobile internet allowance.  I’m no businessman, but those economics simply don’t add up.

So I started look in other shops, just to see the state of the mobile industry with other providers.  Needless to say, T-Mobile’s Full Monty proposition (£36 per month for 2,000 minutes, unlimited T-Mobile minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet) has been causing quite a lot of interest.  I spoke to some helpful staff in a T-Mobile store and have made the decision to take out a contract with them, when my current one expires in April.

I set about contacting Vodafone to inform them that I wished to cancel my contract when it expired, since T-Mobile offered the best deal for me on the market.  Their response?  Not a lot.

‘We’re sorry you’re thinking of leaving us…’  ‘Good’ I thought, thinking that they would be able to offer me a similar sort of deal in order to keep my custom.  ‘Here’s what you need to do to cancel your contract with us.’

That was it.  After 8 years together, through thick and thin, I felt like I was being let go.  No effort to fight and save our relationship; no pleading that they can change, we can make it work, we’re meant to be together.  Just a cold email accepting that they no longer want to keep me in their lives.

And as a customer, that feels pretty shoddy.

Now, I’m not for one moment suggesting that losing my £30-odd quid a month is going to cripple Vodafone.  Perhaps their business strategy for this year does not permit them to price-match T-Mobile’s Full Monty offering.  BUT, I would at least like to be reminded of the memories we shared together.  Made to feel like they actually cared we were breaking up and moving on with our lives.   Instead – nothing.

Over 8 years with Vodafone, I must have spent over £2,000 with them – that ain’t small cheese.  And you know what?  Had they handled the current situation better, I might have stayed with them for another 8 years.  Got my future family on-board down the line.  And what does that add up to?  Lots.

So the point I’m making is this – I understand that when you can’t offer a customer a financial solution that fits their needs, for whatever reason, then you can’t.  But customer service remains a crucial aspect of a retail relationship – and Vodafone’s apparent lack of concern for my feelings has driven me firmly into the hands of a new, different lover.

Let’s hope this relationship proves more fruitful.”

So dear reader, what do you think? Is the customer right to feel jilted, or should Vodafone feel comfortable to let the customer run into the amrs of another? I’m not sure about this one. After all, the Vodafone logo has a giant teardrop right on the centre, maybe they are just too heartbroken to talk about it…

Vodafone Logo