Leadership Lessons From Domino


Domino is a game where players build lines of dominoes by placing one domino on top of another. Each domino has a specific number of spots on each side. When the first domino is pushed over, it releases a chain reaction that causes the rest of the dominoes to fall over in succession. The concept of a domino effect can be applied to many aspects of life, from business to personal development.

In this video, a man builds a large chain of dominoes and then uses a ball to push it over. The result is a spectacular display of how one small action can create a huge reaction. In our article, we will use the domino effect to discuss some important leadership lessons.

Throughout history, the domino theory has been used to explain events in both the political and the personal realms. In the political arena, it was used to support Ngo Dinh Diem in the Vietnam War and non-communist forces fighting a civil war in Laos in 1961-62. In the personal realm, it is a powerful way to describe how concentrating on one activity can help “knock over” other interests.

The most basic domino games are blocking and drawing games for two players using a double-six set of 28 tiles. The shuffled tiles are called the stock or boneyard, and each player draws seven of them. The player who plays the highest value domino wins.

For more advanced games, the rules allow for multiple players and a variety of tiles with different pips. A typical double-six set includes one unique piece for each possible combination of ends with zero to six spots; when blank (blanks are represented by black) and white pieces are added, the number of unique combinations becomes 28, and most games require only that number of tiles. There are also a number of “extended” sets that introduce more possibilities for endings, increasing the maximum total number of pips from six to nine or beyond, and these larger sets are used for games requiring more than four unique dominoes.

Hevesh’s method was based on the fact that dominoes are small enough to be manageable in a workshop but detailed enough to demand respect for the craftsman. Traditionally, dominoes are made from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted on the surface. Other materials such as marble, granite or soapstone; metals like brass or pewter; and ceramic clay have also been used.

The physicist Stephen Morris explains that each domino has potential energy based on its position, and when it is tipped over, much of that potential energy turns to kinetic energy—energy of motion. The more dominoes are tipped over, the more momentum is generated, and the faster they will fall. Eventually, the whole pile will come crashing down. This is the same concept that is at work when you try to make a new behavior stick. If you focus on a new habit, keep it simple and manageable, and maintain momentum, the domino effect will take care of itself.