The Moral Is

The idea of raising the bar seems contrary to a challenging limbo dance. Irony certainly can be amusing. Picture it. Some corporate juggernaut, or, for that matter, his minion, all smiles after having practiced his speech in his lonely hotel room (or not, because he is confident enough in his abilities that his hubris can carry him impromptu), shouts to his audience at the conference, “Raise the bar!”

After the lecture, the people are divided into cooperative team building groups. They are given the task to perform what “raise the bar” looks like and how this leads to a company’s success.

Of course, the team I’m on isn’t buying into my idea of the limbo. I urge them that this is exactly the demonstration that he is expecting (though, deep down, I know he doesn’t know it, yet; this is what my team fears). I meet with enormous resistance because I tend rarely to rise to alpha status. Thankfully, no one has any better idea after they look around the room seeing what the other teams are doing. One team has a trophy out of reach above another trophy on a shelf. Another team is demonstrating through a fine PowerPoint show of animated figures climbing ropes a la a military exercise to climb over a wall. And so on, as they were beginning to get the picture.

Our group’s turn had arrived. We played calypso music and had red plastic cups which we used to feign a drunken party. We started the limbo dance. The first dancer stumbled as though half crocked. He did his jig under the bar. We all followed suit. The audience was aghast because they weren’t stupid. At least I thought it was obvious. We raised the bar.

When the last limbo dancer casually walked under the high bar and everyone seemed to be laughing at the entire production, the obligatory lecture ensued.

When the bar needs to be raised even higher, the pole holders must produce chairs to stand on in order to meet this challenge.

“This involves your participation!”

(The pole holders walk out into the audience and inaudibly mouth something to several viewers. Eventually, they step up on stage with the means required to raise the bar.)

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