Ritual for the last week of the calendar year is clarifying the vision for the coming year. So, given an otherwise light schedule, I started to create mine. Until I got stuck. Like flashing lights, I was distracted by the untended morass of papers on my desk, excessive icons on my desktop and backlog of e-mails to be filed or trashed.

I needed perspective.

So I took a walk through the house drawn to my open closet: another mess. It hit me. Clean it out, clear it up, give it up, throw it out. I did just that. An easy algorithm came to mind; if it doesn’t fit or you can’t remember the last time you used it – put it in the bag. I felt lighter. I returned to my desk and immediately applied the same logic to organize my files.

I was getting clear and ready to do my work.

I realized that this experience is no different than an executive team challenged with its planning process because it’s weighed down by jumbled details. One of my roles is to help the team get clarity by asking them to put the distractions aside. They can do it for a few days and we have a productive session. But then they go back to the muddle. Does it have to be either or?

So for 2011, as part of my plan, I see supporting teams to tackle both the big stuff, like vision, and the small stuff, like reclaiming power over the detail.