At the dinner table with my family the other day, I was discussing an issue as my nine-year-old son listened in. The conversation went something like this:

My father-in-law: They want to bulid a traffic circle at the intersection of Jacaranda and Venice Avenue.

My son: What's a traffic circle?

Me: Instead of putting in a traffic light, a traffic circle is placed at an intersection so that all cars have to drive around the circle to turn, or to continue straight.

My son: Well how does that help anyone?

Indeed!

And it struck me at that moment that frequently we make decisions without asking "How will this really help?" In the case above, the locals think that if there's a traffic circle, it'll be better because then you won't have to stop to make a turn. You can just drive through the circle. The reality, of course, is that the circle will slow all travel down, and the net result will be longer travel times, not shorter. I'm not sure it will really help anyone.

So when making decisions at your organization, be sure to ask "How will this help?" And "Who will this help?"