The great thing about the world we live in, is that we don't need to look too far to find out where we need to improve. All around us, the world is giving us feedback which can guide us on the actions and decisions which will generate a better business and a better life.
In the world of business the feedback comes from our customers, suppliers, website, comments on your blog (or lack of - see below), bank account etc. In your personal life, it may be a spouse, your kids, your friends, acquaintances...
Now the trick to this feedback is that it may not be coming to you in an obvious way. In fact it may not be given to you directly at all. More often than not you have to actively look for it. It might be in what someone is not saying or what is not happening as much as what is.
This is not a complicated science. You don't need a degree to be able to translate and decipher it. But you do need to be aware and in tune with the people and events around you.
Take for instance your spouse. Are they smiling at you, giving you non-verbal cues that they feel loved, or are they distant and detached? Are your customers giving you referrals, written testimonials? Are they haggling about price or are they willing to pay a little more based on the value they perceive?
It is common to see this kind of feedback as one-off events or something that's beyond our control. In fact, the reverse is true. Every event around us is a reflection of us. It's a reflection on how we think, on the quality of our actions, and it's a reflection on the value we are creating.
One of my favorite feedback mechanisms is the bank account. Now money is not the only measure, I realise that, but in the world of business it is a critical measure and one that does not lie. It is hard to say you are doing well if your account is empty. And if the account is healthy, it may be an indicator you are on the right track
Another favourite mechanism it to look at your team. Do you have long term employees or is there constant turnover? Have you investigated the reasons for turnover? Is there as much smiling in your workplace as you'd like to see. This feedback is more subte but equally meaningful.
The lesson (and I'm writing this as much for myself as for you) is to conduct life and business with our eyes open. Receive the information and feedback that we are getting from even the non-obvious sources. And use it to create positive change within ourselves that will inevitably bring positive change in our businesses and lives.