In 2009, I deployed to Afghanistan for the second time in my Army career. Midway through our tour, the platoon I led was tasked with a five-day mission to a hot, remote, and dangerous district in eastern Afghanistan. The urgency of the assignment expedited our planning and within hours, we boarded helicopters for our flight to a distant landing zone. All was going according to plan until the morning of the third day when my platoon was ambushed by a hidden enemy. My soldiers and I found safety and while they identified enemy locations, I radioed our headquarters to report our location and status. Within minutes, attack helicopters, surveillance aircraft, and fighter jets were overhead, ready to assist. Because of the US military’s strong, interconnected network, critical and ample resources were delivered almost instantaneously. The strength of my small unit multiplied as I took charge of both on-ground and overhead elements, overcoming a potentially catastrophic incident.
In a place like Afghanistan, my infantry platoon was an extension of a far greater mission. This intersection between senior commanders in headquarters and us on the ground is where we worked to provide security, assist in economic development, promote good governance, and stabilize a fledgling government. Succeeding at these monumental tasks was not simply a mission statement delivered from the headquarters to the small units on the ground. Rather, success came from the interconnected spider web of resources and networks behind the entire organization.
We at XL Group believe that the organizations we serve are no different. Successful ones evolve their performance capabilities with transparent processes and responsive digital tools. A client may have industry-leading products, a forward-leaning business intelligence department, extensive training programs, and talented managers. But this same client could still struggle to bring this network to the point of engagement with customers where it is needed most. In both the military and business, deploying resources effectively is just as important as having access to them.
At XL Group, we work to connect the needs of the client to critical resources through technical expertise, knowledge acquisition, and effective action. Just like the military that continually refines platforms and processes to improve small unit access to resources, corporations need to also continually refine their platforms and processes. Success doesn’t come from maintaining, it comes from improving. Competitive advantage comes from delivering robust capability to the lowest level possible, at the point of engagement. In warfare, my resources were surveillance aircraft, attack helicopters, and fighter jets that all came together in unison to engage a fleeting foe. In an information-rich business environment, strategic products, BI, and learning resources are all needed where it matters most, tactically, at the point of customer engagement.
While the U.S. Army has spent decades in combat refining this process, many companies only recognize this need in strategy sessions and struggle to take action on the front lines. Depriving their network of much-needed resources is not a recipe for success. Therein lies opportunity. The capability and business case is there, and XL Group looks forward to executing. While the circumstances may not be supporting soldiers engaged in combat, the principles of business empowerment and knowledge translation remain the same. Ultimately, success is about leveraging the power of organizational resources and network talent at the critical moment of customer engagement. Does your company achieve this?