The Domino Effect

Domino is a game in which players place tile blocks on a flat surface, such as a table or floor, forming long lines of overlapping ends. When one end of a domino is tipped over, the tiles immediately fall into place behind it, creating a chain reaction that can continue until all the dominoes have been tipped over. This is the basis for the well-known phrase, “the domino effect,” which describes a series of events that begins with a single action and leads to much greater—and sometimes catastrophic—consequences.

Plotting a novel requires the careful placing of many scene dominoes, each one influencing the next in a sequence that moves the story forward. The same is true of leadership, although unlike dominoes, which are positioned based on their shape and size, leaders are not always able to control the direction in which they move. Instead, their position on the leadership ladder is largely determined by their ability to influence others and the people around them.

The earliest known domino games were simple blocking and scoring games. More recent variations involve laying down dominoes in angular and linear patterns, usually with the goal of stacking all sides on each other until they reach a predetermined height or limit. Some players also play domino chains of a more complex nature, such as a snake-line or cross-ways pattern, to achieve particular goals. Domino games can be played with as few as two players, and the number of pieces is flexible depending on the game being played.

The domino principle applies to other aspects of life, too, including business and personal relationships. Whether it is a setback at work or a death in the family, one event can cause an entire series of consequences that ripple through various parts of your life. Often, these changes are so dramatic that they alter your entire lifestyle. This is a type of domino effect that can be beneficial, or detrimental, depending on how it is handled.