At a recent parent teacher conference with my son’s Science teacher, I happened to notice that the best overall grade in the class was a 76.  There were another two passing grades and every other student was failing!

Out of 16 students 3 (20%) were passing.

I asked the teacher about class performance. 

“This is a really bad group of kids.  I’m not doing anything differently than I have for the past 28 years and I’ve never had this happen before.  I know it’s not me.”

You haven’t changed your approach for 28 years and you consider yourself blameless? 

Let’s contrast this with Jeremiah Owyang’s moderation of a Web 2.0 Expo panel.

Jeremiah monitored Twitter while moderating the panel.  As audience comments appeared saying the session was getting boring, Jeremiah shifted the focus of the speakers and addressed the comments real time.

Instead of using Twitter, he might have interpreted body language or facial expressions to figure out that a change in direction was needed (less direct, but still effective).

The point: He got customer feedback and adjusted!

If your customers are leaving, if they’re bored with your product, or if 80% of your class is failing, isn’t it time to adjust your course?