Management Articles


Focused Power

By: Thomas W. McKee

Thomas W. McKee is president of Advantage Point Systems, Inc., a staff development and change management firm. Thomas is an author, motivational speaker, trainer and leader. He has spoken to over 1/2 million people and taught the Advantage Point System method of change management to over 100,000 managers in companies like Hewlett Packard, Ernst and Young, Procter and Gamble, the California Department of General Services, and the IRS. ; For information about the Advantage Point System of managing change see

How can a medium power laser burn through steel in a matter of seconds while the most powerful spotlight can only make it warm? The difference is unity. A laser can be simply described as a medium of excited molecules with mirrors attached at each end. Some of the excited molecules naturally decay into a less excited state. In the decay process, they release a photon, a particle of light. It is here that the unique process of the laser begins.

The photon moves along and "tickles" another molecule, inviting another photon to join him on his journey. Then, these two photons "tickle" two more molecules, and invite two more photons to join the parade. Soon, there is a huge army marching in step with each other. It is this unity that gives the laser its power. A light bulb may have just as many photons, but each is going its own independent way, occasionally interfering with other photons. As a result, much of its power is wasted and cannot be focused to do any useful work. However, the laser, because of its unity, is like an army marching in tight formation and is able to focus all of its power on its objective. That is the quality of a team leader. A leader is one who is able to focus all the energy and power of a team, an organization, or a business on its objective.

The team leader must find that point of focus. Many work teams are not united because they don't' have a unified focus.

Jan Scruggs, when he was raising the $8 million for the Vietnam Memorial, was able to involve opposites such as George McGovern and Barry Goldwater because he discovered a word that would bring unity. That word was "vet." The memorial is a veterans' memorial, not a war memorial. The word "vet" brought focus. The word "war" would have brought chaos.

What is your focus? Have you found the word that will unify your group? Finding that focus is the first step to building a #1 team.

© 1998 Advantage Point Systems Inc.

Other Articles by Thomas W. McKee

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