How quickly can you get your mind around the fact that things aren't as they used to be, that our world changes all the time? How quickly can you get into a different gear, when conditions require you to do so? I've chatted to a number of people in different businesses this week and I was struck by the number who knew the recession had hit their business hard last year and the year before, yet carried on as normal. No trimming of the sails, no close attention to income/expenditure, no systems to communicate with their customers. Now, with several huge earthquakes added to the mix and a dramatic loss of customers, damage to operating premises, the whole nine yards, they're looking down the barrel of a complete shut down. It is only a matter of time. What we can take from this sorry picture is the necessity to keep one's head above the sand (not hide under it); to closely monitor income and expenditure; to critique all expenses to determine what is mission critical, good to have and icing on the cake; to keep in communication with customers; to act quickly at the first sign of business difficulties and to keep moving and acting on what needs attention. We all need the capacity to dance on the head of a pin – light footed, flexible, fancy steps, plain steps and speed – and to take lessons with a dance specialist if we can't get into the rhythm by ourselves.