Why a Company Full of Yes Men Leads You Nowhere

Sep 15, 2015 | The ONE Thing | 0 comments

Questioning things is a very human characteristic that is essential for discovery. The ONE Thing is built around the idea of using the Focusing Question to find our highest and best purpose. On your path toward achievement, be weary of “yes men” who go along for the ride and can throw you completely off course because they aren’t interested in thoughtful discovery.

A look behind corporate doors

While mastermind groups can catapult your business forward, the lack of dissenting opinion within decision-making groups can hold it back. When your company is full of yes men, it’s like having a single decision maker with no real sounding board. Researchers have found time and time again that diversity is a key ingredient for business decision-making success. If that isn’t reason enough to begin weeding out yes men, the points below may change your mind.


A Company Full of Yes Men Lacks Innovation

Creative freethinking promotes innovation. Yes men are the exact opposite. They are parrots who do nothing but repeat back what they think you want to hear. It is rare that they put forth the effort to think outside of the box instead of blindly following. Informational diversity is needed to find solutions to complex problems, understand a broad market base and build a creative brand. You won’t get that with a group of yes men.

A Company Full of Yes Men Misses Opportunities

Opportunity is all around us; you just have to look for it. When your focus is narrowed or nonexistent, you miss opportunities. Yes men are too busy focusing on following the leader to step up with their own ideas about trends the business should capitalize on, partnerships that could make the company stronger or technologies that could transform the industry.

A Company Full of Yes Men Isn’t Honest

Yes men tell you what you want to hear, not what they’re really thinking. They could honestly agree with you, but nine times out of ten, they aren’t providing full disclosure. Having people back you up is reassuring, but success is the ultimate measure of good leadership. This requires knowing your weaknesses and hiring people that make up for them rather than people who ignore them.

A Company of Yes Men Makes More Mistakes

Groupthink is so powerful it can make us miss the obvious. When a person feels like there is a group consensus, even if they don’t agree with it, they are less likely to speak up. They will overlook the issues and conform to the general perspective despite glaring problems. Intellectual, constructive debate helps to identify the weaknesses in a plan so the company can make the most informed decisions.

A Company Full of Yes Men Is Afraid of Risk

Yes men by nature choose to take the safer route even if it isn’t necessarily the best or most efficient route. They choose the known for the unknown any day of the week. Researchers at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Michigan have theorized that a yes man culture leads companies to stick to the status quo, which will eventually cause them to be disrupted by others in the market.

A Company Full of Yes Men Spins Wheels

When no one is throwing out their own ideas or taking the initiative to problem solve the wheels just spin without getting you anywhere. You’ll likely keep going down the wrong path because no one is going to step up and say things just aren’t working until it gets painfully obvious.


If your ONE Thing is to improve the decision-making at your office, diversity and dissent are powerful tools that can make it happen. Quizzical minds that question things are typically valuable hires because they challenge leadership to think in new ways and contemplate different viewpoints. Creating a culture where both yes and no are welcome will usher in better judgment and better decisions. As a leader you have to fight the urge to go the easy, yes man route and embrace more challenging, and rewarding, diverse decision-making.