"Boom Shaka Laka" Lisa is a paradigm buster. She's from Tulsa, Oklahoma, hence the twang. She has on a gypsy shirt with flowing white sleeves and a ruffled collar. Underneath is a white sequined tank top. She's wearing strappy white sandals and has a giant bunion on her right foot. Moving across the stage she smacks her palms together on the power words for emphasis. She's telling us about a Japanese word called Kaizen – a Zen-like way of management that she says will "break you out of the box" and make you "commit to action." Now, Lisa is pointing to the giant screen unfurled behind her where she beams a PowerPoint slide. She is introducing us to the Resource Center. For as little as $1.99 we can turn these action items into The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It seems so little to pay for what could be a wealth of information.
I contemplate the sales pitch for a microsecond. Don't I want to put my best foot forward? Couldn't I benefit from a more Zen-like management style? Don't I need to be a highly effective person?
I get up out of my seminar chair. It is linked at its hip to a line of about 30 other seminar chairs in my row, and then to the hundreds of other chairs in the room, as if we're all part of the larger chain. I don’t want to be the weak link. My company has paid for the seminar, and an entire afternoon of learning still awaits me.
Lisa is still talking when I stand up. I turn my back to the screen and walk slowly down the aisle, out of the darkened auditorium and into the afternoon light.