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.


What do I get?

Two things fascinate me about the growing unconference movement. The first is the energy, the excitement and value they create for the participants, the guests, and the second is the uncertainty with which many people continue to approach them.

I’ve been to loads of conferences, a few very good ones, and a growing number of unconferences. There are two unconferences coming up which I’m taking part in, ConnectingHR on October 20th and Stop Doing Dumb Things on November 23rd, and I want to tell you about what I get from these events in the hope it may encourage a few folks sitting on the fence to join in.


In an unconference I’m able to experience and practice many different methods of sharing information. These include World Café, pecha kucha and the fishbowl method. All of these are great methods for learning and sharing and are perfectly, simply and cheaply transferrable to the workplace. At the last ConnectingHR I was privileged to run a world café session and the feedback was great. Folks found it enjoyable as a way of meeting many other people, and useful as a way of accelerating and increasing learning. Most conferences are just not laid out and set up to give you this great interaction and great learning.


At most conferences you arrive, take pot luck and sit next to someone you hope will be interesting, or stick with a colleague for safety. Many people who attend conferences say the best bits are the conversations they have with people in the gaps. Guests flow around and through an unconference in a way that guarantees you will meet many people.  This increases your chance of finding interesting folks and in the event that your pot luck shot is a bit off target, it also gives you the opportunity to take aim and have another go, without awkwardness.


At most conferences you are presented at. There is often just one thing happening and you feel obliged to sit and listen, well you’ve paid a lot of money haven’t you. Unconferences give you choices and the rule of two feet applies. If you find a session is not meeting your needs or you’ve learned what you want from it – go and join another. This is not just OK, it’s encouraged.


Most conferences show you case studies, and some of these can be useful. At an unconference you get the chance to bring your own organisational challenges and opportunities and discuss them with peers and other experienced folks and find ideas and methods that are really focussed around your needs.


People I meet at unconferences fascinate me. Many have gone on to become friends and trusted advisors. Some have given me valuable work. Valuable in that it is interesting, useful and fun. Unconferences create lasting value.

I’m excited about meeting familiar and new faces at both ConnectingHR and Stop Doing Dumb Things, having great conversations, learning stuff, making work better and building even better relationships. I encourage you to join in, I’m confident you’ll be pleased you did.

What do I get? Take it away boys…