Atomic Habits for Consultants

Grow Your Consulting Business Faster with the
Domino Effect

Have you ever lined up dominoes, tipped one over, and watched them fall in a cascade? Most of us have spent a rainy childhood afternoon building long chains of dominoes. The power of the Domino Effect is mesmerizing.

What if you could apply the chain-reaction power of the Domino Effect to your consulting business?

That first domino is what is Critical to Success for your consulting business.

This is no longer kid's play - it's a secret weapon for successful consultants. The key is to focus on the first "domino" – the task that, once completed, makes everything else easier or even unnecessary.

Keller and Papasan, in their best-selling book “The ONE Thing,” show how accomplishing your most important task can set off a chain reaction of success. It's about momentum - one completed task leads to another and another, like falling dominoes. It shows us how to create a cascade of accomplishment from a single, well-placed effort.

Beyond strategic growth projects, "The Domino Effect" also means that minor changes in your habits or behaviors can lead to big shifts in your overall life and business. The right small step forward can start a domino effect that leads to significant progress.
The Domino Effect isn't about massive, overnight success. It's about recognizing the first domino and letting its knock-on effect work to your advantage.

The principle of the Domino Effect works perfectly with the impact of compounding your work, just like compounding interest rates on your investments. Even small compound effects create large impacts over time. Check out the blog From 1% to 260% Growth with High-Performance Consulting to see how small incremental improvements make huge impacts.

Identify that ONE domino that is Critical to Success or that makes everything else easier. Then start with that small, manageable task, knock it over, and watch how it leads to significant long-term results.

Take Aways

  • Don’t Get Stuff Done. Get the Right Stuff Done!
  • Completing the one “right task” can set off a sequence of events creating substantial results. Taking the time to identify the right task is more important than juggling more inconsequential balls.
  • Careful strategizing can help you determine which tasks, when completed, can trigger the Domino Effect, leading to the project's successful completion.
  • Small changes in habits or behaviors can lead to big shifts in your life and business. Find your most productive time to work and block it off for yourself. (The Morning Miracle, for example, is not for everyone. Your family and personal energy schedules are unique. Fit what works for your body-mind-energy-lifestyle.)

Take Action


You're overwhelmed with a new client project, unsure where to start.


Use Post-It™ notes to map out the project and organize a timeline. Use gold color notes for tasks that are Critical to Success. Use red notes for tasks or objectives that are serious obstacles. Identify the task that, once completed, will make other tasks easier and will set off the Domino Effect. Begin with this task.


You're continuously looking for new clients, which takes up a lot of time. You fall into the Feast-or-Famine cycle.


Look for actions you can take NOW to get one or two clients, for example, referrals from past clients, speaking at association dinners, etc. Then, plan how to build a marketing and sales engine that keeps consulting clients coming with minimal effort and time on your part. Plot what objectives and tasks you need, and then look at how to start a Domino Effect. (This is the focus in our Building Your Pipeline module.)
Once you have the core of your marketing machine built, start a Client Retention Program to retain clients. This is far more profitable than spending 30% to 50% of your time continually looking for new clients.

Creating a perpetual marketing machine and a Client Retention Program are key objectives in all our consulting courses.


You're considering diversifying your consulting services. But you are afraid of spreading yourself too thin and having to spend more time on marketing.


Combine the Adjacent Skills strategy taught in our consulting courses with the Domino Effect to diversify, build more revenue, and retain clients.
Always start with your core consulting service. Then, once inside a key client, look for adjacent services you can supply that support their success.

For example, for well over a decade, I helped mid-sized organizations plan their corporate strategy, the core consulting service I promoted. Once their strategy was defined, they often needed help planning their Objectives and Key Results and tracking metrics. My non-core skills, Six Sigma Black Belt, finance, and Microsoft Excel programming enabled me to advise and assist departments in defining objectives and creating automatically updated dashboards with metrics.

Trying to sell all those services as a single independent consultant would have been much harder.

Call to Action

Where is your domino that is Critical to Success? Here is how to find out.

Pull out some Post-It © notes and go to work.

Post your top three strategic objectives at the top of a whiteboard.
See How to Do the Best Brainstorming

Underneath the top three objectives, stick the smaller objectives and tasks that will accomplish your strategic objective. Use red Post-It notes for critical obstacles that could block progress.

When you are done, identify the tasks and objectives that are holding you back or that will accelerate success.

Identify what is Critical to Your Success and Make those dominos fall.

BTW: I don’t have stock in 3M, the maker of Post-It notes, but I do have a shelf in the garage with about three vertical feet of Post-It notes. :)

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