Inflection Point-Yogi Meets The 5th Dimension

by Tom Casey, Managing Principal Discussion Partner Collaborative

One of the famous utterances of Yogi Berra was “when you come to the fork in the road take it”.

Although somewhat mystifying the wisdom is emerging as relevant in our client work with C-Suite Executives promoted from within, as they achieve their 3rd year anniversary.

During a review of the performance trajectory of Discussion Partner clients, we realized that there is an inherent Inflection Point associated with this milestone anniversary.

17 of our current C-Suite clients fit the following profile:

  • Tenure with existing companies at least 5 years prior to promotion.
  • Member of Executive Committee where they enjoyed peer level collaborative endeavors.
  • Primarily (although not exclusively) elevation to leadership position based upon strategic circumstances vs. pre-planned continuity progression

To assist in gaining maximum insights DPC created the model we refer to as The Fifth Dimension (not to be confused with the Age of Aquarius Music Group).

Post Appointment Outcomes

Determined- during the three year period the executive has met or exceeded economic, quantitative, and qualitative metrics

Driven-the enjoyed success in addition to contributing to self-confidence has fostered an achievement oriented mind-set

Tenure Driven Influencers

Distraction– during this period the executive has eliminated or mitigated the distractions or ambivalence associated with managing a cadre of former colleagues in favor of commercial focus

Distance– during the time-frame, the common refrain from direct reports is “he/she has changed”, or “they don’t interact as before” while inherently true, it is usually articulated as a criticism

Directive– the pace of decision-making and execution only accelerates as the executive gains self-confidence to the chagrin of former colleagues whom feel if not left out, that “they are deciding in a vacuum”


Relationships do change, they are not the same for a confluence of reasons the most unlikely being the promoted executive has become an egomaniac.

Also an unlikely outcome is that the level of collegiality with those whom were peers will return.

Inflection Point

During the initial period of leadership, the executive’s style is evolving somewhat in a trial and error progression.

DPC’s suggestion is independent of the gray areas of discomfort, Distraction, Distance, and Directive it is best to avoid the 6th Dimension-Distortion avoid second guessing oneself and as the New England Patriot’s have recently reinforced good things happen when you “just do your job”!

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