The Domino Effect
Remember those days when you were but a wee child, and for many reasons the day was somewhat boring and devoid of excitement.
It was one of those days where friends were nowhere to be found. Everything that you did the day before to make the day an enjoyable experience no longer had the same effect today.
Those days when you revisited the things that in the past had got you out of the doldrums: Reading books, playing board games, listening to your favourite 78/LP/Cassette/CD, cleaning your room (not sure we did that one to relieve the doldrums!), playing dominoes.
Well hang on, maybe not dominoes as in the true sense of the game, complete with the rules etc, but dominoes, as in sitting them on their edges one after another and creating a long line or a number of interconnected lines.
And then going through the constant psychological debate of whether to add another domino or to just stop where you were and get the fun underway by nudging that first domino.
After all this is the real reason for putting all the dominoes in the sequences that you have — the fun and excitement of creating any number of patterns, lines and roadmaps with your endless supply of dominoes.
You then have the pleasure of pushing the first domino so that hopefully the first will fall on to the second, onto the third and so on, until each and every 20 unit: pkv domino qq has fallen through the pattern, up the hill, around the corner and in the order that you have so carefully put together so that finally the last domino falls at the end of your predetermined sequence.
If you have done your homework, if you have set your dominoes up in the correct way, if you have understood the flow of energy then hopefully, after you hit domino number one, sometime down the track, the last domino will fall.
Well, effective leadership is not dissimilar.
Sometimes the direct approach is not necessarily the best way to go. Sometimes there is not a direct route to take. Sometimes you will need or have a number of people or situations involved in the process to get the result you are looking for.
And it is at this time that you start to develop your sequence of influence based on the same principles you used when playing with the dominoes.
You realise your starting point and you know the end result you are looking for. Now what is needed is the carefully thought about, developed and implemented plan between the first step and the last.
This is what the sequence of influence is all about. You start the process and then you let the laws of perpetual motion and momentum take place. In the end, hopefully, the last domino falls (perhaps in your case the last conversation, interaction, or situation) and then you have the result you were looking for.
It sounds all too easy, but reality can be quite different. Just ask anyone who has spent the day setting up endless rows of dominoes.
You incorporate turns and bends into your sequence and the dominoes fall, but only until they get to the point where the turn or bend is too tight causing the falling domino to miss the next one in line and so causing the momentum, perpetual motion and the sequence to stop.
Likewise, if you make your inclines too steep, your flow of domino-induced energy has too high to climb and, once again, the momentum stops.
The exact same rules apply for your sequence of influence as a leader.
You need to take into consideration all aspects from the starting point of the sequence until the end result you have planned. Know the things that can and will have an influence on the sequence you are putting in place.
Know each and every obstacle the sequence will need to go over, under, around or through to get to the end of the sequence.
Know the outside influences that may or may not have an effect. And at the same time, always be on the safe side and build in contingencies so that if there are outside influences coming into the picture they will have minimal effect.
Know the energy level that is developed by the sequence and more importantly, know how that energy will continue to be produced and utilised. But also know where the energy needed to keep the momentum of the sequence flowing will come from, where will it be used, how much of it will be used and by whom.
And last but not least, as a leader do not use the sequence of influence as an easy alternative because of the limited involvement required of you. The sequence of influence is not an ‘easy’ alternative, but it is an alternative. It is however, an alternative that will require considerable levels of thinking, understanding, planning and execution.