Is the world as flat as they say?
Visiting my Moscow office this week got me thinking about how the world has gotten smaller and faster these days. In Thomas Friedman’s book “The World is Flat,” he describes the globe as an open marketplace for just about anything. I agree with Friedman and hope that the concept of free trade continues to bring the world closer together. However, the one big obstacle is when the human talent needs to be present.
In our industry, we still need to greet and serve our guests face-to-face. Will there ever be a day when a general manager or food and beverage manager could work remotely? I doubt it. Governments seem to be content with allowing the flow of certain kinds of goods and services but have entirely different thoughts when it comes to the flow of human beings. Working as an expat in most countries, regardless of home country, is still a very difficult undertaking for both the employer and employee. Employers go through such significant levels of red tape and costs that it is rarely worth the effort. Employees go through similar issues, and then they have to assimilate as well.
Human nature tells me that most people want and need to be part of a social group — one that makes sense for them. I believe that social mores, language, customs, education, safety and prejudice still stand in the way of a free flow of human talent. I am also optimistic that communication tools such as the mobile phone, the Internet and whatever comes next will bring us closer together as a global society. Hopefully governments and learning institutions will get better prepared for the flattening of the hospitality industry.