1.4 Cosmopolitan or Parochial?

Posted by Mike Kaaks

03 February 2019

1.4 Cosmopolitan or Parochial

Labelling these alternatives has been a challenge. Parochial started as status quo but was changed because I felt it too limited a domain. Once I reached parochial as the descriptor for a more general condition, I found cosmopolitan as it’s antonym. These are two fine sounding and eye catching words and they are technically appropriate, but I could equally label this question as being a choice between old world and new world, or a choice about being open to what is happening in the changing world, or being anchored in the safety of maintaining the status quo.

I included this pair because of a repeating experience of the status quo in the form of it being a barrier to change and to progress.

The ability to transition from one world to another is a critical and universal part of life. For some of us it is as easy to engage with as enjoying a beautiful sunrise, for others the pain of having to let go what we do now and have done for so long is like walking into a raging thunderstorm. Not surprisingly every business project that seeks to bring about change encounters stakeholders on both sides of this divide.

Things are constantly changing, this is about how we feel when those changes are close to us; when they are in our lives. The outcomes can go beyond how we feel about the change. People wedded to “the way we’ve always done things here” might be the first ones not to make the cut in a restructure because of being seen as unable to connect with the new pathway.

Like all the issues we’re considering this is not black and white, not all one or the other. As willing as I am to adopt and drive change I want to ensure that we bring the strengths of our past along with us. For me it would be silly to start with a completely blank page every time. What about you? Are you more Cosmopolitan (it does sound like a nice thing to be doesn’t it?) or Parochial, wedded to the status quo?

New World or Old World?


  • Global
  • Worldly
  • Universal
  • Worldwide
  • Connected
  • Interactive


  • Local
  • Insular
  • Conservative

Are you enjoying the connected world - not technologically, but person to person?

Absolutely You