Every person from the smallest child to the oldest human being and animals love reassurance. Someone there to validate your thoughts and decisions from the most minuet instances "Do these Jeans make me look fat?" to more serious matters "What do you think about me having surgery?” most people like having someone there to cosign there ideas and decisions. There's nothing wrong with reassurance, a lot of time it's helpful in getting past certain milestones in life. Someone you respect to say "You can do it!" and help you overcome the fear and anxiety that comes with some of life's biggest decisions.
Where this can go horribly wrong is when the reassurance is given regardless of the decision idea or thought. When the person never disagrees, plays devil advocate or offers alternate points of view. These types of individuals are commonly referred to as “Yes Men”. Yes men are more prevalent where the stakes are high and the opportunities plenty. Selfish motives allow these people to offer false reassurance time and time again in order to make you happy or seem like an advocate.
Their motives are selfish because they know if that decision goes well they will reap the benefit of being the person there to tell you that you are the genius you thought you were. And if things go horribly wrong it doesn’t matter to them, they’re yes men that had nothing to lose in the first place. For them it’s just going back to their regular lives or find the next gravy train to ride. The most common yes men are found amongst super star athletes, rock stars, movie stars etc. But you will also find them in Corporate America amongst fortune 500 execs and in budding small businesses as well.
One of the latest cases of a yes man in corporate America cosigning a bad decision by an executive is McDonalds #McDStories twitter campaign. An executive at the fast food giant thought it would be a great idea to have people tweet stories about the great times they’ve had when going to McDonald’s. This person figured it would play out like one of those hokey commercials they run where a group of friends who are all in tip top shape btw, are at McDonalds eating supersize everything having the time of their lives. Obviously not the greatest idea in the world, and this exec clearly has a disconnect between the corporate image that Mc D’s displays in their commercials and how the general public feels about the brand. The decision to run a campaign for a brand that is notorious for controlling its image on a platform like Twitter and completely give control to the public screams yes men and in this case several yes men.
Suffice to say the campaign was a disaster and was pulled w/in hours of launching. Anyone who was grounded in reality would have known this was a bad idea instead of great stories here’s a sample of what they got:
Moral of the story be your own man/woman. Trust your abilities, work ethic, experience and expertise. Of course reassurance is great every once in a while, but it certainly shouldn’t be a determining factor in your decision making in life or business. Stay clear of yes men, and use your head and your heart they’ll never fail you.
You can read more about the McBlunder here