The ‘Yes Man’ vs The ‘No Man’

One of my favorite things about owning a company is learning about our clients. I love people. I love their mannerisms, love their stories, I love taking it all in. As a small business owner, I never take for granted the time I spend talking with other business owners and getting a look into their companies, their business philosophies, and what makes them so successful.

When I was on our latest set at Magnanimous Media’s Studio One for a shoot for Daniel George Custom Suits, my usual study of the client was reversed when Daniel George, the stunningly sharp eyed and uniquely hilarious owner of, yes you guessed it, Daniel George Custom Suits, overheard my business partner and I having a minor disagreement about the order of shots we were going to gather with the next pair of models after the lunch break.

When the less than five second dispute was over, Daniel said, “It’s so good to see you’re not both ‘Yes Men.’

Noticeably caught off guard, Daniel clarified, “There’s nothing worse than two ‘Yes Men” working together, because they don’t keep one another in check. That’s exactly how Grant (Daniel’s Business Manager) and I work. I’m the Yes-Man, Grant isn’t.”

After the fast paced shoot, I really thought about what he said and reflected on the way I work. I will tell you right now, I am the ‘Yes Man.’ As a Creative Director, I hate taking options off the table, especially when I’m brainstorming. I hate putting up walls to my creative thinking and concept development. I will admit, at times, it can be much easier with some walls directing my train of thought, but I don’t like being suffocated. Being a ‘Yes Man’ has been great and has lead to some amazing concepts and creations in my life. But it’s not all golden ideas and million dollar concepts. It never is, even on million dollar productions. Just watch some TV spots today.

Even with all the positives, it’s also lead to off the wall and off the mark concepts, poor time management, and over complicating small tasks. In steps the ‘No Man’ Christian.

Christian is the Co-Owner, Lead Producer and Editor extraordinaire of Two Gents Digital. He’s usually the one that says, “Habs, we can’t do that.” or “You have ten more minutes to get this shot.” or “Come on, wrap it up, we’re late.” He’s the “No Man” but all of his “No”s are profoundly positive and needed for the success of our small company. It has lead to some of our best work. I came to the conclusion that if you own a small business, you need to have at the very least one of each, or a balance of Yes and No men.

Two yes men is how you get bad production. Everything is a green light, everything is fun, everything is fine, until you get back and look at the footage and realize you’re missing half the shots you were supposed to grab. Two No-Men and either nothing gets done, or you don’t take any risks at all and you end up with boring, cookie cutter finished products. We’ve managed to find the perfect mix of yes and no, getting detailed versus seeing big picture.

As a society, we often tend to side with the Yes Men. Daniel, the designer, or Habs, the creative. We’re overly optimistic, we’re passionate, we’re positive, we have fun, we’re a little odd. But we’re also off the mark… a lot. And without someone telling us “No”, we’d think everything we do is better than it really is. That’s how egos are born and bad work is done.

For me, it’s a simple notion for success. Saying “Yes!” in business is important, but it’s just as important as saying, “No.”