Leadership and the Domino Effect

Domino is the name of a series of games where players arrange dominoes, or “bones,” edge to edge on a flat surface. Each domino has a line down the center that divides it visually into two squares, called ends, each of which has a number, usually from six pips down to zero (or blank). Typically, a domino is twice as long as it is wide, allowing players to easily stack and re-stack them. The value of a domino is determined by its number of pips, although some people consider the blank side to be worth no points at all.

When a person makes a change in one area of their life, that change will cause other areas to shift as well, like the way one small domino can knock over much larger ones. This is known as the Domino Effect.

A Domino effect is a term used in business to describe the result of a chain reaction triggered by one change, which leads to other changes. The result is often unintended and can be positive or negative. For example, if a company introduces a new product, it may be more successful than expected and lead to the development of other related products, or customers might choose to buy more than they originally intended because the additional choice increases the convenience of the purchase.

In a leadership context, the Domino effect is a powerful tool for managers to use to inspire team members. By demonstrating that leadership is a process of domino-building, managers can encourage their employees to take risks and make bold decisions that will create a positive impact on the organization.

During the 1977 Frost/Nixon interviews, President Richard Nixon defended his policies in Latin America on the basis of a domino theory. He argued that a communist Chile and Cuba would form a red sandwich that could entrap Latin America between them.

When used in a personal context, the domino concept can be applied to goal setting and time management. A simple but effective strategy teaches that by focusing on the most important goal, other goals will be accomplished as a natural side effect. For example, if someone chooses to spend less time on sedentary leisure activities, they will likely reduce their daily fat intake as a natural consequence because one activity naturally leads to another.

While most modern domino sets are made from polymer, early sets were often made of ivory, bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), or dark hardwood such as ebony. These types of materials give dominoes a more traditional look and feel, but they are generally more expensive than polymer sets. Modern domino sets are also available in other natural materials such as stone, brass, pewter, ceramic clay, or even frosted glass and crystal. They are generally more durable than polymer sets, but they can be difficult to maintain because of their fragility.