The "Conspiracy of Yes"

Perhaps the reason I run a small creative strategy consultancy a little off the radar is because I don’t subscribe to the “conspiracy of yes”.

The “conspiracy of yes” is, at its most simplistic, when all participants say “yes”, regardless of what is the best or right answer, in order to keep themselves busy. It’s a way for people to protect their own positions and interests because they are scared of doing anything other than agreeing.

I have seen many examples of the “conspiracy of yes”. One of the worst (best?) examples are the pricey strategists who, having listened to a client, merely regurgitate the client’s words back to them in a different order or with a gratuitous tweak here or there. The client thinks the pricey strategist has “really understood them” (yeah, duh!) and says they can’t do without the pricey strategist. Thus the mutual dependency is established and the add-no-value-pricey strategist becomes indispensable, yet is entirely useless. It’s a luxury item that feels like a ‘must have’.

Does the pricey strategist add value? I guess you could argue they have moved the process along without jeopardising it or breaking it. The client has a high-end strategist in their pocket, which is not without some benefit. But has the strategist actually added any value, insight, creativity or strategy? Have they justified their price tag? I don’t think so.

Without being too dramatic, I love doing creative strategy, but I couldn’t do the “conspiracy of yes” for too long without feeling my integrity taking a hit. It’s not what I was built for, and it’s not what Sword & Stone is about.

So if you’ve got a problem and fancy chatting with us to see how the land lies, don’t expect too many “yes’s”. As one recently acquired client said, “you were appropriately challenging and very compelling”.