The Domino Effect

Domino (also known as bones, cards, pieces or men) are small flat rectangular blocks used for a variety of gaming activities. They normally feature a line in the middle to divide them visually into two squares, each of which may have a value based on the number of pips (dots) on the ends, usually between six and zero. Dominoes are available in different colors and styles, but most commonly they are white with black pips. They are also available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Most domino sets are composed of 28 tiles, although larger ones do exist. Larger sets, known as extended ones, introduce a further three pips per end on the larger tiles and increase the maximum number of unique combinations of ends to 91, 106, 136 or more.

Dominoes are used for various types of games, but they are most commonly matched against each other in a game called Block or Draw. In this game, players take turns placing a domino edge to edge against the face of another, creating one or more rows that are blocked off from each other. The first player to complete a row wins the game. Depending on the variant, each subsequent completed row may win the player additional points. This is a popular game for families and children.

In a more complex and political sense, the idiom domino effect is used to describe a series of events that can cascade outward from one event. The phrase originates from a political column written in the 1950s by journalist Robert Alsop, who suggested that America’s decision to help South Vietnam would have consequences like falling dominoes. President Eisenhower cited this metaphor in a press conference, and the term caught on as a way to explain how one event might affect the course of history.

A Domino Effect can happen in your personal life as well as in the workplace. If you start to change one behavior, it might cause you to shift other behaviors—like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or eating more vegetables. It’s the same principle that causes a drop of water to create waves in a glass.

The founder of Domino’s, Tom Monaghan, believed in the Domino Effect and made it a company value. This meant listening to employees and acting quickly to implement changes. For example, when the Detroit Free Press named Domino’s one of the best places to work in 2014, the company paid attention to what its employees had to say and changed the business in a very positive way.

Domino’s CEO, Patrick Doyle, has emphasized the importance of listening to customers as well. He has implemented a number of strategies to make Domino’s an even better place to work, including lowering the dress code and changing leadership training programs. He has also made a point of speaking directly to Domino’s employees and listens to what they have to say. This has led to an improved customer experience—and a higher stock price.