The Leading Domino

I think it is fair to say that everyone at some point has setup a domino chain.  The exercise alone will test anyone’s patience because it can take you an exorbitant amount of time to get all the dominoes aligned only to see them tumble in a matter of seconds.  There are records that run in the millions of dominoes that take several hours to be carefully setup.  One little-known fact about the domino chain reaction is the 2x rule.  According to a Domino Magnification study, a domino can topple another domino of up to 2 times its size.  That means that a very small domino can begin a chain reaction that will eventually topple a domino several sizes bigger than itself.  The leading Domino, regardless of its size, will have an unprecedented effect and influence in the dominoes ahead in a given chain.  To put it in perspective, a 1-inch tall domino, in a 10 domino chain, when applying the 2x rule, would be able to topple a 512-inch Domino (that’s roughly 14 yards).  That’s an amazing amount of influence and power a 1-inch domino can have.

I believe the same applies to every one of us.  We too have an incredible amount of power and influence over those around us.  Sure, we might not be able to directly influence those that are exponentially bigger, more experienced, insert-your-rating-scale-here, than us, but we can influence those around us that will in turn influence those around them, in an ongoing, never-ending, ripple effect.  Every day when we get up we get a chance to influence those around us in a way that will change their lives for the better.  It is up to us if we will take that step forward and engage “the next domino.”

So who is your next domino?  Is it your boss?  Is it your team?  Is it your circle of friends?  There is no limit as to the impact a single, determined, person can have in their environment if they are purposeful about it.  Human history is full of examples of a single person that became a ripple effect across cultural and geographical boundaries.

What influence can you exert?  Think of all the opportunities for improvement you can lead within your circle of influence.  Think of all the water cooler conversations you’ve had with others in your team about the things that could be done better.  Often times people either underestimate their influence to change things, or they are not engaged enough to lead the charge.  John Maxwell in his book 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership talks about the relationship between influence and leadership.  He keeps it very simple:

Leadership is influence

This is simple yet profound because I believe the reverse is also true:  Influence is leadership.  You become a better leader when you begin exerting influence within your environments.  It ultimately is about who you are, not what you do.

Imagine our communities, our family, workplace, neighborhood, etc, if we embraced this concept of being the leading domino and became agents for change.  The possibilities are endless when we become engaged and invest in others enough that exerts influence for good.

How do we do this?  Become the leading domino.