Dominoes Falling for Good

“Small acts of decency ripple in ways we could never imagine.” Cory Booker

Last week, one of my team members, Kaitlin, and I were finishing up filming for our certification program and taking a break to eat lunch.

I told the waiter I was in a hurry because I had a call coming up.

No problem, they said, but ten minutes later, we heard the cook in the kitchen uttering a string of profanities. He had dropped my burger on the floor and was going to have to start over.

What we thought would take 10 minutes took half an hour, and I was late for my call.

When they came to apologize, we said, “Please tell them not to worry about it. Everyone has bad days. We will be fine.”

Ordinarily, I would have been quite concerned about running late. But we had just been talking about disruptive events that happened earlier in the day.

It was the second day of filming, and Nils, our producer, said, “I made a mistake yesterday. The video is 90% there, but not 100%. I am sorry. If possible, I’d like to refilm today.

“Don’t worry,” I said, “We can redo it.” Of course, I didn’t want to. I wanted to be done. But it was important to him, so I was open to it.

Only THEN did he say, “Great. Because I noticed your energy wasn’t as good this round as it was the last time we filmed, and it would benefit from re-doing.”

As Kaitlin and I were processing this over the mishap-ridden lunch, I realized that because of Nils’ willingness to take responsibility for a mistake, the day went differently than it might have.

Nils is an expert; in mastery in his domain. He could easily not have said anything or said, “Whitney, you weren’t as good as you could have been; let’s do this over.”

But if he had, he would have known he wasn’t being 100% honest. And, I would have felt it was all my fault, potentially undermining my confidence, which is not a good way for either of us to go into the second day of filming.

Instead, he took responsibility. Because we have a relationship of trust, I could easily forgive. It’s okay to have a miss; he’s earned it. But he also left me feeling strong about my ability to do my part well.

The redone videos were SIGNIFICANTLY better: 30% – 40% better. The content was settled, I was more relaxed, etc.

And at lunchtime, when the burger landed on the floor, I was in the mindset to be generous.

That’s the contagion effect that Emma Seppälä shared on our Disrupt Yourself podcast. It is real and powerful. Nils’ positive behavior impacted a lot of interactions for good that day, possibly even ones I didn’t recognize, for example, later conversations with my children.

When have you seen a behavior domino in real-time?

Our podcast guest this week is Will Ahmed, CEO and founder of WHOOP. He’s all about possibility and getting to possibilities via data about health. 

In our work, we like to measure where you are in your growth along the curve. His hardware tracks heart rate, exercise, sleep, stress levels, and more and is beloved by pro athletes and CEOs alike, including me.


My best,

P.S. Disruption Advisors has new job opportunities available! Account Manager, Product Manager, and Executive Assistant. We are fun, doing great things, and excited about growing our team! Learn more and apply. Do you know someone who would be great? Let us know!

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