The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Going Global in a Flat World

I first read Thomas L. Friedman’s The World is Flat about 7 years ago. The lines he drew then in our connectedness boggled my mind. I remember re-reading chapters, reading aloud to my wife and I can recount many conversations with my peers regarding some of these ideas. There was similar conversation – and debate – when I read the book a second time for a global management course while getting my MBA. I remember being the sole student who raised my hand when the professor – after a very thorough and frightening course description to the cohort emphasizing competitiveness not only within the global market but amongst us as peers – asked us all who had read this book before. Of course, I was then asked to give a brief description of my thoughts regarding the book to which my professor responded, “huh, interesting.”

While Friedman’s book certainly lays out some very interesting pieces to how globalization has evolved over the last several years most of us have been touched by those across the globe in unique ways beyond donning a fedora and jumping on a plane. The tools at our fingertips allow us to connect just as easily to someone 100 miles away as it does to someone 1000 miles away. We can collaborate and participate in conversations effortlessly and seamlessly. We can even participate in courses without even being in the classroom and in some cases, without even being enrolled.

So today as I read the HBR blog post by Ángel Cabrera What Being Global Really Means his opening paragraph hit me pretty hard. He quickly points out that global leaders just don’t act global, they are global. He then goes on to describe what a global reader is and also underscores how globalization has the ability to be sustainable and inclusive – worth the read. However, as I read this article with Friedman in the back of my mind having also been thinking about the Stanford Education Experiment I couldn’t help but wonder what this means for higher education both now and in the future?

SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: Yes, it’s true, I was building to something here. I am happy to share with you that during our Annual Conference in Boston this September we are hosting an International Symposium. This gathering is meant to bring HR professionals from institutions outside of the U.S. and those from U.S. based schools who have responsibility for branch campuses outside of the U.S. together to discuss workforce challenges and network. Interested? You can find more information here.

Hope to see you in Boston!