A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, thumb-sized and bearing on one side an arrangement of spots resembling those on dice. A traditional set of dominoes has 28 pieces, with each having an identifiable end (usually referred to as the “pips”). When a player sets down a domino and begins playing, it triggers a chain reaction that causes other dominoes to fall. Several games are played with such dominoes, in which dominoes are matched by their ends and laid down in lines or angular patterns.
Lily Hevesh started creating amazing domino setups when she was 9 years old. She got her first set, a classic 28-pack, from her grandparents, and began building intricate, straight or curved lines with them. Flicking the first domino was always exciting, as the entire line fell, domino by domino. Today, Hevesh, 20, is a professional domino artist who creates spectacular setups for movies and events-including an album launch for pop star Katy Perry. Hevesh’s YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers, and she’s been featured in TV shows and magazines.
She explains that her success comes from keeping Domino’s core values front and center, including a strong focus on listening to employees and customers. When she sees a Domino’s location struggling, she says, it’s like a hammer pounding on the nail that is holding the company together. If that nail isn’t firmly removed, the whole thing will eventually crumble.
Hevesh tests the pieces of her domino installations in slow motion, and she often videotapes them to make sure they work. Once she’s satisfied, she starts adding them to each other. She builds 3-D sections first, followed by flat arrangements and finally lines that connect everything together.
Then, Hevesh lets physics take over. “The laws of gravity are what drive these things,” she says. “One little domino has enough energy to knock over the next, and then that’s what you want — for one domino to knock over the next.”
Hevesh has used her domino skills to help companies, too. She worked with a Detroit-based pizza chain that had some serious issues in 2004, and she helped them recover by reinvigorating their culture, which included a relaxed dress code and leadership training programs. She also emphasized setting up Domino’s locations near colleges, a strategy that helps the restaurants serve students who crave pizza at odd hours.
The Domino Principle is a leadership concept that teaches us to find one priority task and to dedicate ourselves fully to it until completion. Then, once that task is done, we can move on to the next one. Just like a single domino can generate the energy to topple a larger chain, focusing on our most important tasks can have the same impact on our careers and personal lives. Watch the video to learn more about how a domino works, and how one priority can change everything.