Leadership and the Domino Effect
A domino is a flat, thumbsized rectangular block of rigid material, typically wood, bone or plastic, used as a gaming piece. Its surface is divided into squares bearing from one to six pips, or dots, and the rest is blank. A traditional European domino set contains 28 such pieces. The word derives from the Latin domino, meaning “heave” or “fall.” Dominoes are arranged by sliding them edge-to-edge on a flat surface to create lines and angular patterns. They are also used in a variety of games, which are similar to blocking and scoring with playing cards, but allow players to work together and often circumvent religious proscriptions against card play.
A Domino Effect is a phenomenon that occurs when a single small behavior creates a chain reaction with a much larger impact than expected. For example, Admiral William H. McRaven told UT Austin graduates in 2014 that making your bed is the first domino action that helps you succeed each day. By making your bed, you’re demonstrating that you care about your home and yourself. In turn, this sets the tone for how you interact with others throughout your day.
The same principle applies to business and organizational leadership. When a company’s domino falls, it can cause a ripple effect with the entire organization and its customers. When this happens, it’s important to identify the catalyst and understand the domino effect.
This is what makes leadership so important, and this is why a company’s culture is crucial. By having a culture that is centered around the principles of the Domino Effect, the company can create a chain reaction in which all employees take action to help their own colleagues and customers achieve success.
In the early days of Domino’s, founder Nick Monaghan relied on the Domino Effect to launch the pizza chain to success. His idea was to place a Domino’s near college campuses, where he knew people were looking for pizza delivery quickly. This strategy proved effective and was critical in the growth of the chain.
As we see in the Domino Effect video above, when a small domino is set in motion, it can create a huge chain reaction that is difficult to stop. This is why it’s so important to focus on establishing positive habits and making them part of your life.
Once established, these habits become your new norm. They’ll be like the domino that nudges you out of bed in the morning, enabling you to get on with your day and take on challenges that might otherwise seem overwhelming. Whether it’s exercising daily or focusing on your finances, these are the behaviors that will help you to build a life that is successful and fulfilled.