The Domino Effect

When domino falls, it converts energy from potential to kinetic—the energy of motion. The energy travels to the next domino, giving it a push. And so on, until the entire chain has come crashing down. Hevesh uses the same principle when creating her mind-blowing domino setups. She says she starts with a theme or purpose—say, “a big bang” or “a journey through space.” She then brainstorms images or words that could be associated with those themes and ideas. Once she has a few words or pictures in mind, she looks for places to set them. This helps her find dominoes that fit together.

The most common domino is a rectangular tile with a line down the middle that separates it into two squares. Each end of a domino is either blank or has a number of dots–called pips–that range from one to six. The most popular domino sets contain 28 unique tiles.

A standard domino is about 2 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 3/8 inch thick. This size makes it small enough to hold comfortably in a hand, but large enough to be stood on edge. Typically, a domino is played on a hard surface so that the tiles don’t slide around.

Before a game begins, the dominoes are shuffled and placed on the table face-down. These are called the “stock” or “boneyard.” The player with the highest number of pips takes turns placing dominoes on the table. Each time a domino is placed, it must be positioned so that its matching end touches another domino with a single pips end. If a domino is a double, it must be placed cross-ways straddling the end of another domino.

The domino effect can be applied to many aspects of life and business. As a book editor, I encourage my clients to think of every plot beat in their novels as a domino. When a domino is knocked over, it sets off a chain reaction that can have a huge impact on the story.

Domino’s CEO David Brandon understood this concept when he restructured the company in 2004. The company was struggling to grow profits, and its customer service ratings were among the lowest in the industry. Brandon decided to tackle the problem by changing the way employees were trained.

As the new leadership at Domino’s started to put its stamp on the company, it became clear that this was a reversal of fortune. Instead of relying on traditional tactics to drive sales, the new leadership team focused on improving employee training and speaking directly with customers.

This strategy, paired with a series of innovative delivery innovations, helped Domino’s to thrive once again. In fact, the company has been referred to as the “model for corporate turnarounds” by business experts. Domino’s exemplifies the domino effect in its ability to turn the tide when facing difficult circumstances. It’s a lesson worth learning.