The Cookbook Analogy: Balancing Style and Substance in Business and Life

This week, I want to focus on the importance of gratitude in our professional and personal lives. In doing so, I’d like to highlight Eliot Lincoln as my Standout Person of the Week. And I have had a week full of great support from product and business development to insightful marketing and branding discussions, and the engaging feedback on my posts and podcasts. It’s specifically about a conversation with Eliot that struck a chord with me.

We hadn’t seen each other in a while, and our discussion revolved around an intriguing concept: cookbooks. This might seem offbeat at first, but hear me out. We talked about how the cover of a cookbook needs to be appealing enough to entice someone to buy it. However, the content must also be compelling and useful, turning the book into a reliable tool, product, or service. The recipes should be feasible, suitable, and acceptable for the user’s needs.

This cookbook analogy resonates deeply with me, particularly in the context of style and substance. It’s a reminder of the need for balance. In today’s world, we often encounter an overemphasis on style – quick fixes, microwave meals, and ultra-processed everything. Decisions are frequently made based on the cover, not the content. Yet, the dilemma is that we usually don’t experience the content until after the purchase.

This brings us to a crucial point about how we present ourselves and our products, how we market them, and what we truly value. Personally, I’ve always considered myself a ‘content guy’, often struggling with sales and promotion, which I find superficial and challenging. However, Eliot made an excellent point: you might have the most amazing recipe (or product, idea, skill), but if no one is drawn to pick up your ‘book’, its value diminishes significantly.

This conversation was a reminder of the importance of balancing substance with style. In our efforts to be authentic and substantial, we must not neglect the power of presentation and appeal. It’s not about choosing one over the other but finding a harmonious balance that respects and enhances both.

As we navigate our careers and personal journeys, let’s remember the cookbook analogy. Let’s strive to create covers that attract and contents that deliver, ensuring that what we offer is not only appealing at first glance but also valuable and enriching in the long run.

Thank you, Eliot, for this insightful perspective. It’s a lesson I believe many of us can benefit from, both in business and in life.

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager
Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills

My approach is to blend my expertise [Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager] with the strengths of our partners, ensuring that we consistently deliver high-quality, tailored solutions to our clients. My Associate approach not only fosters a dynamic and collaborative environment but also maximizes the value we deliver to our clients and partners alike. There is an optimum combination of factors or qualities which help people and organisations transform. It is a blend of listening, challenging and sharing and comes from expertise, experience, curiosity and a passion to perform. I deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.