Domino is a word that has several meanings, from the classic game of dominoes to an architectural term for the way in which buildings are constructed. It’s also a phrase that refers to any series of events that has many cascading effects.
Lily Hevesh fell in love with dominoes at age 9. Her grandparents had the classic 28-pack, and she loved setting them up in curved or straight lines, flicking the first one, and watching the whole display come tumbling down. As she got older, she started posting videos of her domino designs online. Now 20, Hevesh is a professional domino artist who builds mind-blowing setups for movies, TV shows, and events—including a recent performance by Katy Perry.
As Hevesh builds, she has to be careful. Each domino standing upright is full of potential energy, or stored energy. If the first one is knocked over, it transfers energy to the next domino in line and gives them both a push. This chain reaction continues until all the dominoes fall. Physicists call this the domino effect—one simple action that leads to much larger—and sometimes catastrophic—consequences.
The word domino comes from the Latin for “falling together.” It’s used to describe a chain reaction or an event that leads to other actions. This is why the phrase is also used to describe a political situation that causes other countries or companies to follow suit, or a situation where people take on board the ideas of others.
When the company first went public in 2007, Domino’s was losing more than $943 million per year, and its stock was trading at less than $5 a share. The previous CEO, David Brandon, knew that he had to make some major changes to the business if it was going to survive.
Domino’s began by implementing a new management style, creating employee training programs, and talking directly to employees to see what they needed from the company. It also introduced a more modernized pizza delivery vehicle and a college recruiting system, all of which were intended to improve the Domino’s image and attract younger customers.
But it wasn’t just Domino’s image that needed an overhaul; the company had some serious internal problems, too. For starters, Domino’s had a high turnover rate among its workers, and the culture had become too hierarchical.
To fix this, Domino’s implemented a number of employee-focused initiatives, including a relaxed dress code and an emphasis on training. In addition, the company made an effort to emphasize its core values, especially “Champion Our Customers.” These policies and changes proved successful, and the brand’s fortunes took a dramatic turn. Now Domino’s has more than 17,000 locations and is the largest pizza retailer in the world. Domino’s has also expanded its menu and experimented with automated delivery vehicles and drones. However, the most important change the company has made has been to prioritize its people. This is a lesson that other businesses can learn from. Regardless of what business you’re in, the key to success is listening to your customers and employees.