How “Plinko Chip” Leadership Can Lead to Better Decisions

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Why do some ideas fail miserably, despite a plan that looked so good on paper?

It could be that someone forgot to run the leadership Plinko Chip.

Plinko, as any fan of “The Price is Right” can tell you, is a game where a player drops a chip into a slot at the top of the Plinko board. As the chip descends it gets knocked around by a series of pegs. How the chip bounces off these pegs determines where it ultimately lands.

Believe it or not, there are key leadership principles to be found in this game that can greatly enhance key decisions. When you apply Plinko Chip Leadership you can:

1.   Anticipate mistakes, and correct them

2.   Fine tune decisions, turning a good idea into a great idea

3.   Sharpen the critical thinking of your team

Here’s how it works.

When you’ve reached a leadership decision and you’re about to execute the plan, stop. Gather your team. Tell them you’re going to run the decision through a leadership Plinko board; that is, a series of imaginary, though realistic, test case scenerios.

Team mates are expected to fully engage with the process, rigorously envisioning how various factors could affect the implementation of an idea.

The idea is that, like the course of a Plinko chip is determined by the way it hits the various pegs, a leadership decision will unfold differently depending on the various scenerios it might encounter along the way.

Case in point.

We recently came to a decision regarding a new strategy that would be rolled out in ministry settings around the world.

In this case, the Plinko chip was the strategy being implemented in several different countries. The pegs were the distinct cultural, economic, linguistic and geographic distinctives of each country.

The first six scenerios played out as expected. But the seventh hit a financial snag. Had we not run this exercize we may not have discovered this til it was too late.

As it was, we were able to make the adjustments necessary.

So, before you roll out that big decision, be sure you’ve looked at it from all angles.

And running it through the Plinko board can be a good place to start.

How do you test your decisions before moving to action?




the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.


  1. Love it – great analogy.
    You may not be able to predict every time which direction the “chip” will take, but if all “pegs” are thought of, in the end there will only be a few final outcomes.

  2. Thanks Glen. You’re right of course, this can’t predict every outcome, but it can sure help to avoid a few landmines along the way.

    Thanks for weighing in!

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