Recently the Institute of Directors conducted one of its regular Policy Voice surveys of members, a means by which it tests the feeling of businesses on various issues of the day. The results of these surveys then feed back into its lobbying, helping that influence to truly reflect the views of businesses themselves, and not just be an interpretation of what those views might be from Pall Mall headquarters. This particular survey included several questions on business optimism.
It is, of course, a relatively standard topic. Business confidence barometers will often pop up as a subject in your email inbox, either asking you to join in, or to report the findings of recent surveys, such as the one just mentioned.
The producers of the surveys and reports would, I suspect, be surprised if we told them that we receive such information with glee or excitement. However, they might be reassured to hear that we nevertheless recognise that the information is important. The ever-intangible confidence can have a real effect on what might happen going forward, perhaps not necessarily to a particular business decision (though it might) but more likely to our strategic thinking and planning.