Many children enjoy playing with domino, those little black and white rectangular blocks that are stacked on end in long lines. They can be tipped over one by one, creating a chain reaction that continues until all the dominoes fall. Dominoes are often used to play games of chance or to make dazzling artistic designs. But the real power of a domino lies in its ability to inspire awe through the “domino effect.”
A domino is a flat, thumbsized, rectangular block divided with a line down the center that visually separates it into two square ends, each bearing from one to six dots or pips. A complete set of dominoes contains 28 such pieces. Each has a different value depending on the number of pips on its ends, with the highest value domino having six pips on each end, followed by eight pips, then five, and finally none or blank. The sum of the values on both sides of a domino is its rank, which determines the type of game it can be played in.
The domino effect capitalizes on a core principle of human behavior explained in the classic book on influence, Influence by Robert Cialdini. The concept is that people are more likely to honor commitments and promises they have made, especially if those commitments and promises are aligned with their self-image or sense of identity.
This idea has been used by leaders at Domino’s to encourage employees to remain loyal to the company. After a high turnover rate was discovered among Domino’s employees, the company’s CEO at the time, David Brandon, decided to listen to employee concerns and take action. Brandon created a series of new initiatives, including a more relaxed dress code and leadership training programs, to address the problem. These changes were met with tremendous success, and the company’s reputation for employee satisfaction improved significantly.
Another way that the Domino Effect has been utilized is through the use of the domino theory in history. This theory suggests that the success of Communist revolutions in some parts of the world encouraged other countries to follow suit, even though those countries had not yet succeeded in achieving economic freedom and democracy. While the domino theory failed to explain the economic successes of the Soviet Union and other communist nations, it has been a useful tool for historians to use when analyzing political events in other countries.
Aside from being a fascinating form of entertainment, domino also serves as an important lesson for writers. In order to create a compelling story, it is important to think of each scene as a domino. If a scene is not adding enough tension or impact to the plot, it may be unnecessary and should be eliminated. If a domino is not properly placed, however, the effect can be disastrous. This is why it is crucial for writers to outline their plots ahead of time or use a software program such as Scrivener to help them hone their scenes.