A key ingredient to get high value things done is the belief that it actually matters. And nothing turns up the heat like a shared sense of urgency.

REAL urgency can be a savvy leader’s superpower, but it CAN be frittered away.

Keep these four points in mind to make the most of tight situations:

Don’t try to do too much. People will easily load up on deliverables and action items. Help them be thoughtful about what they take on and how much you are pushing them. A hiker may be able to hoist a 90 pound pack, but it is usually better to keep a manageable weight even if some things need to be pared down.

Don’t fritter away the time with ineffective meetings. Keep these focused and on point. Make sure that people have enough real estate on their calendars for actually executing on what has now been deemed a strategic initiative.

Apply “triage” to issues that have been identified. Apply priorities to those that will matter the most in the next 12-18 months. All improvements are welcome, but not all improvements are strategic. Of those that are strategic, identify those that are future-ready, need help, and unworkable in their current state.

Use the energy for bold thinking. A sense of urgency can help the team to think bigger. If the current feeling is that “we cannot keep with the way things are” then that is a great opening to make some big shifts. It is easier to contemplate new approaches when the golden goose is looking sick.

Kodak just recently announced their bold move to enter pharmaceutical manufacturing. I don’t know the whole story, but I am sure a sense of urgency played a big role. Urgency can play a big role where you are too… if you use it in a smart way.