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“I’ve been hunting for yellow chairs my entire career as a CEO and strategist. It is my life’s professional purpose and I can do it for YOU!

What’s a Yellow Chair?

My engineer father pounded the yellow chair metaphor into me as a kid growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He used it to describe anything that was marginalized by a lack of vision, clarity and purpose.

The story would start with an inherited and very ugly yellow chair that makes the ideal outcome impossible.  It would continue with a predictable series of redecorating plans. New carpet. Paint. Accessories. Window coverings. No change. Each and every attempt would fail because the yellow chair was still influencing all the decisions.

The story’s ending always featured an enlightened chap ditching the yellow chair and, for the first time, being able to achieve the desired outcome by starting with a fresh vision for the room and proceeding only with the elements needed to make that vision a reality.

That’s the yellow chair metaphor. Thanks, dad.

Why Does It Matter to Your Small Business?

Most leaders fall short in transforming their small business because they are encumbered by the intellectual and emotional equivalents of that yellow chair. Anything that prevents us from identifying the key issues that will dictate our future is a yellow chair. Anything in the way of transforming today to arrive alive tomorrow is a yellow chair.

Yellow chairs might be thinking you have a “right” to customers or other cultural dynamics that scream:

  • “We can’t do that!”
  • “We’ve always done it this way!”
  • “We’ve got the best team in the business!”

That’s what YellowChair Strategy is all about. Helping leaders:

  • Identify yellow chairs that marginalize performance.
  • Maximize team-based leadership.
  • Implement transformative strategies today to arrive alive tomorrow.

Benefits of the YellowChair Strategy 


Most strategic planning programs are full of detail that freezes and eventually shuts down the process. The yellow chairs are never identified.


CEO-level leadership that digs deep into an organization’s specific situation and the key issues on its competitive radar screen.


Participants engage interactively with CEO Mark Affleck to identify yellow chairs and then create strategic imperatives — what must be done — in order to produce organizational transformation.

Benefits from the YellowChair Strategy process include:

• Energizing your leadership team by providing discipline and strategic challenges relevant to YOUR company’s situation.
• Pushing YOUR leaders to higher performance in the context of your company’s issues and imperatives.
• Identifying YOUR yellow chairs that are preventing lasting transformation and creating Strategic Imperatives–what must be done.

Building a Winning Strategy in 5 Steps

Yellow Chair Strategy for Small Businesses

“Our strategic planning session with Mark gave us game-changing breakthroughs! He helped us see the opportunities that would increase our ministry’s reach, impact and bottomline productivity. At some point we all need coaches to help us break through from ordinary to extraordinary. Mark is among the brightest and best.”

Monty Kelso, Partner, Slingshotgroup