The dictionary explains the domino effect as a cumulative effect produced when one event initiates a succession of similar events. It’s also sometimes called a ripple effect. In life when things are going great other great things seem to happen. When you wake up in the morning and the first person you see at home or work makes you feel happy the day seems to continue that way. Sadly, the opposite is true. It only takes one mean person or bad situation to make this go out of control. You get out of bed in the morning, stub your toe on the dresser, spill your coffee getting into the car and that’s just the start of a day you’d much rather forget. These are the times your friends seem to post on Facebook about how horrible their life is.
It doesn’t take much to set the domino effect off in your work or home life. It can be major things or just small things, but it seems once it starts, it continues for a while. That one negative employee at work can slowly bring everyone down with them. On the other hand, a positive person at work can bring everyone up to an incredibly productive and happy level.
Your actions can tumble down from generation to generation. It only takes one person to set things into action for generations to come. You find a lot of the successful families have been successful for a number of generations. Not in all cases, but a lot of them. The same goes for the families that always seem to have something going wrong. Is it just luck? Is it the power or positive thinking? Their amount of money from past family members that help them get to where they want to be? …. or a combination of all of them. The ones that seem to cause their own problems in life seem to blame everyone else but themselves. The ones that are successful because of what others have done for them usually thank those that lead the way for them and show appreciation to those helping them. They look for the good over the bad.
I know my children are probably sick and tired of hearing me say the same thing to them each and every morning before I drop them off at school. I tell them how much I love them, how proud I am of them, how it makes me happy when I see them holding the door open for someone and doing nice things for people, I tell them how I think it’s great that they are doing their homework and getting great grades, etc.
They sit there silent (probably rolling their eyes when I’m not looking … and sometimes when I am looking!), but I know they are listening because I can see it in their everyday lives.
As I watch them walk into school I can see them holding the door open for others, I see their great grades and get wonderful reports from their teachers, so I know they are doing great. Their teachers tell me how polite they are and what a pleasure they are to have in class. It’s the positive reinforcement that seems to be helping them. My parents have always been incredibly supportive to me and I’m grateful for that. I’m sure my children will continue the positive thinking / positive affirmation way of thinking with their children and grandchildren many years from now.
If my children are having problems with someone in school, I tell them to look at that child’s home life and they’ll soon realize it started there. They didn’t have parents that were praising them each morning and helping them along the way. I would imagine that’s the same way their parents were raised, too. When I had the chance to meet the bully and their parents, I soon realize the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. It’s the domino effect in action. In their case I’m sure their parents didn’t give them a great pep talk each morning and instead probably yelled at them or complained about something all the way to school. It’s sad, but it’s just how they were raised and continue to be.
It’s more difficult to change your ways than continue on the same track you are on. People don’t like change so they don’t make the effort needed to change things that need to be changed. Our minds get stuck in a rut sometimes and it’s tough to get out of it. I’d rather be stuck in a good rut than a bad rut. The hardest part in making a change for the better is taking that first step. After that it gets easier.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” – Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
It only takes one person to stop that domino effect from happening. This could be the happy and wonderful domino effect or the negative one. One person can make an incredible business and great attitude stop and go downhill or one person can stop the cycle of horrible things happening and make things better. It only takes one person to pull your life or your company in the right or wrong direction.
Think of a person that makes you happy and who is successful. Now think of a person who you’d rather never deal with again. We can all probably do that without much effort. Are you one of the people that a friend, co-worker or relative would think of when they wanted to think of someone that made them happy? If not, you need to change!
We can all think of someone that when we hear our phone ring and see their name on the caller ID we are happy to answer it or prefer to hit decline because you don’t want them to depress you or make you angry. Sadly, the ones we don’t want to talk to are just riding the wave of the negative domino effect.
Our first reaction is usually to try our best to avoid them, but in some situations it’s better to try to talk with them and turn the conversation around to a positive one. They’ll leave happier and probably thank you in the end. Do your best to make them leave happier than they arrive, but also do your best to not let the bring you down to their sad level and ruin your day.
How do we stop the negative domino effect and change it to a positive one? It’s all a matter or showing people you care and doing something nice for them.
Showing people you care is important.
Giving someone a nice pat on the back or complimenting them on something is really easy. Next time you are out at lunch compliment the person waiting on you about their great service. Better yet, call the manager over and let them know how great the waitstaff and food was. Open the door for someone or reach back and keep it open for the person entering behind you. Simple random acts of kindness can go a long way. It can make a negative domino effect in a person’s day stop and things going back in a positive direction. Be careful with the compliments so the person doesn’t get creeped out thinking you are hitting on them. 🙂
“That’s a really nice watch!”, “I love your glasses.”, “Thank you so much for the great service today. I really appreciate you.”, … It’s so easy to come up with something simple and nice to say. Give it a try.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complimented someone on something, made them laugh or were just kind to them and they told me how much they needed that. They sometimes even explained to me how their day was going so horrible and I made them happy. That made me happier than I already was.
You’ll also find that you get better service when you make the person you’re dealing with happy. I don’t make people happy to get great service when I’m out, but it’s an added bonus of being nice to them. I figure if they are having a bad day being nice to them will hopefully make them happy or if they are happy already, I’ll make them even happier.
Don’t be afraid to show people you care or tell people you care. Don’t be afraid to tell an employee they are doing a great job. Don’t be afraid to tell your CEO thanks for being a great boss or for being there for you when you needed someone to talk to (or vent to).
As a company, don’t be afraid to let your employees know how much you appreciate them. You can be nice while still showing them you are in charge. Some people think that’s impossible. Over my many years of motivating and entertaining at corporate events, sales conferences, etc. I’ve found the companies that do the best are those where the boss shows their employees how much they appreciate them.
These top companies that hire motivational speakers, keynote speakers and corporate entertainers to come in during their convention, sales conference, awards banquets, etc. seem to understand that happy employees keep the company moving forward. I’ve had the chance to speak or entertain at large events that other than my presentations, were all business. Bosses and others stood on stage and went over what’s going on in the company, upcoming trends in their industry, etc. The workers sat there like zombies trying to stay away.
These companies had me come in to entertain and motivate their employees to break things up a bit. They knew they had to wake them up a bit for yet more business meetings later in the day.
Some companies even scheduled outings during the events. From golf outings after the general session meetings in Orlando, shooting skeet in Phoenix, Arizona, river rafting in Colorado, to a submarine ride in the ocean in Hawaii, I’ve seen it all at these corporate events.
I remember one event I was hired to be speak at would do a mystery trip each year as part of their sales conference. They told me that they used to tell their employees where they were going, but then would have some not go. By having it a mystery trip people wanted to go for fear they’d miss out on something cool. The company already paid for the meals, event tickets and everything else in advance, so if people didn’t go, the company would be out that money.
They invited me to go on their mystery trip, but let me in on the secret before we went. They rented out the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas where the Dallas Cowboys play in. We got on large tour buses, drove to the stadium and the buses pulled right down under the stadium where all the football players come in. We all walked through the same entrance that the Cowboys did onto the field. We were greeted by the huge jumbotron screen showing us walking onto the field and the official Dallas Cowboys screen host interviewing us up on the big screen (the screen area for each sideline display board is 11,393 square feet). Everyone was treated to an incredible dinner right on the field, we were allowed to kick field goals, play other games they had set up, etc.
I’m not into football at all and it was even fun for me. You didn’t need to be into sports to have an incredible time at that event. All of their employees LOVED it. If you are going to have a corporate outing, think of things that ALL guests will probably like. Some people don’t like to golf, gamble, etc. Someplace with a nice view, great food and a fun experience for everyone will always do the trick.
Many other times that the corporation invited me to go on these extra adventures with them, they gave me and the others attending a choice on what we wanted to do. They knew everyone didn’t like golf, shooting skeet or going to a casino, so they gave everyone an option and let the groups go do what they wanted to do. In the case of the Dallas Cowboy event, everyone enjoyed the dinner and incredible experience no matter if they were a sports fan or not.
No, riding on a submarine down to the bottom of the ocean floor had nothing to do with their meeting, but it showed their employees that they were willing to go above and beyond to make them happy. Their employees were all happy and always go above and beyond for their boss.
The companies that seem to do well know that all they have to do is shove over one great happy and productive domino over to get the others moving. It’s of the utmost importance to keep people from starting a negative domino effect from happening to your workplace. If your company is having problems, you need to do something soon to stop that cycle from continuing. Like in the photo at the top of this blog, you need to stop the dominoes from falling in a bad direction and get things moving in the right direction.
Stopping a negative domino effect can be as simple as thanking your employees for a job well done. Others need to bring in a motivational speaker or entertainer, like myself to help. No matter what you do, you have to do it. Don’t put it off. Even if things are going great, you have to keep your employees happy and motivated so things keep going in that happy direction.