We need to broaden the umbrella

Heard on a conference call last year, initially this mix-up seems to blend “broaden our base” with “under the umbrella”.  “Broaden one’s base” often means looking elsewhere (for an answer, for more sales contacts, for new ideas, etc.) while “Under the umbrella” often means getting everyone together on something (a plan, an idea, a path` to take, etc.). The two thoughts are almost contradictory –  one goes outside while the other gathers everyone together to agree on something or do something.  However, ultimately I think the speaker was thinking “big tent” (embracing people with different values or visions) and that since both an umbrella and a tent covers things (e.g., rain), the malaphor was uttered.


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