The Crippling Effect of a Yesman Agency

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As one of my mentors said to me, “if you and I agree all the time then one of us is unnecessary. –Justin Billingsley, COO Saatchi & Saatchi, Europe, Middle East & Africa

Continuing our conversation about what it’s like to work with Oneupweb, let’s talk about the crippling effect of hiring a “Yesman Agency”.

Bobbleheads smile and say nothing, nodding their oversized heads in acquiescence. These kitchy trinkets are about as useful for the ultimate success of a business as their human counterparts—the dreaded yesmen. What happens when you hire an agency full of them?

Nothing good. Wasted dollars, wasted efforts—at a minimum. The loss of a business? That’s a possibility.

People acquiesce for many reasons. Chronic acquiescence—yesmeninghitis, perhaps—is borne from a need for security and the aversion of fear. Yespersons are scared of many things—scared of being wrong, scared of conflict, scared of losing their job or their business. (Chronic naysayers—those afflicted with the nonovirus—act in similar ways for similar reasons, but we focus on the yesmen here because as an agency, we’re familiar with clients that simply expect us to jump solely because they asked us to).

That’s not how we operate. We’re not actively trying to be churlish—but we’re not afraid to push back when we believe the direction a client wants to take is not the best course of action. Sometimes we’re wrong—our business is made up of humans, after all. But if all we ever did was act to avoid making a mistake, we’d only be acting selfishly, avoiding difficult questions and ignoring the client—the sole thing we strive to serve.

Think about your agency. Think about your team. Remember what Justin Billingsley said—if all you ever do is agree with each other, one of you is unnecessary.

If you ask something of us, we will always consider it. We just might not always agree with it. But, when we disagree with you, know that it comes from a desire to understand better the Why of your request. We work hard not to deliver a stalwart no, but rather a positive one—our goal is to stand up for ourselves without destroying the relationship we have.

That’s the truth. For more marketing truths, check out our recent white paper: 5 Simple Truths, Making Your CMO’s Life Easier.


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