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Is your Business Relationship Manager a Chef or a Cook?

Business Relationship Managers are innovative and have the inherited quality to understand relationships (people) to drive value. Like chefs, BRMs are trying to solve a new puzzle every day and apply that knowledge to deliver value with a purpose.

Business Relationship Management – as a philosophy is about the management of business relationships. Business Relationship Managers always think about the why, how, and when?

To understand the business, we need to understand people. The world is changing, and businesses around the globe are shifting their objectives from profit to purpose.

According to the 2018 HBR review, Companies with higher levels of purpose outperform the market by 5%–7% per year.

Chef Invents while the Cook follows

A chef has a vision for the whole restaurant. With his expertise and experience, he understands his customers and their needs. He puts together many new items on the menu as he always views with a wider lens and keeps experimenting. Never afraid to fail because every chef comes with a purpose and raw ingredients are his principles.

A good chef can cook without a recipe, knowing instinctively from experience what combinations of ingredients works. Chefs are directly involved in decision making and ensure everything goes well.

Cooks have mastered the art of execution. They prepare a dish perfectly by following the recipe. They may not be creative, but they are methodical and do the job day in and day out.

If you take the Culinary spectrum, the cooking journey goes like – by the book cook, cook with unique style, cook with innovation, and so on. Later if he is creative enough and has a passion, he can have the transition to be a chef. First, you have to be a cook to become a chef.

Are You a Strategic or Tactical Business Relationship Manager?


Are You Strategic or Tactical Business Relationship Manager

Are You Strategic or Tactical Business Relationship Manager

There is nothing wrong in being a cook. But then comes a day when something new needs to be figured out. Maybe a new marketing strategy or a new business model in the wake of a pandemic.

Chefs gather all relevant principle ingredients and start puzzling together a reasoning pathway and experiment. As a result, he will find various pathways.

Now you can decide if you want to be a cook or chef. Do you copy or create? Are you just a Connector or Orchestrator?

As a Chef, Strategic Business Relationship Managers have a wider view of the organization. They work across business units, understand the needs and pains of business partners , and develop a strategy. They are always purpose-driven.

Strategic Business Relationship Managers are like culinary chefs who use their first principles to move upward. They Orchestrate and make a cultural shift from Inside-Out to Outside-In, as they move up in the Business Relationship Maturity stack. They transcend silos and co-create value. Strategic BRMs can help business leaders navigate the organization and build robust business capabilities.

 Tactical Business Relationship Managers are like cooks, they are more transactional oriented in the beginning. But you have to start the journey somewhere. You have to be tactical to become strategic BRMs.


There are chefs and cooks everywhere in the world. Be it music, art, architect, developer, writer or a marketing guy, it’s all about whether you are cooking the same recipes or innovating the new recipes. The difference between how you think and respond to the industry-changing needs decides whether you are a Chef (strategic) or a Cook (tactical).

Go dig deep in yourself and find out…

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