Agility in Battle… and Business

When you first encounter a company, one of your initial questions (after what do they do?) is most likely how big are they? Indeed companies are often evaluated not solely by their performance, but by their size.

Every large company starts out small, but not every small company becomes large. Anyone that has worked for and with both types of organizations, knows that there are significant differences between the two in terms of culture, responsiveness and ability to change.

While larger companies often focus on growth, they must also actively work to achieve something that their smaller counterparts have naturally; agility.

In business, being agile means being able to quickly understand, react and adapt to changing conditions. Smaller companies achieve this fairly easily; they are in much closer contact with the customer and can quickly shift to accommodate needs. Larger organizations typically sit further away from their end user. They therefore take longer to understand and process changing requirements, communicate those changes internally, and finally attempt to adjust direction as quickly as possible.

It’s not a hard concept: who can pivot more quickly – an elephant or a jaguar?

But agility in itself does not guarantee success for a company. To fully realize agility as a clear advantage, a smaller organization needs to have both talent and dedication.

There are many David versus Goliath examples of this, not just in business, but in history. Over four hundred years ago, in the Polish-Muscovite War, 6,500 Poles defeated an army of 30,000 Russians who were accompanied by several thousand mercenaries at the Battle of Klushino. Not only were they outnumbered, the Poles were outgunned with 2 cannons to the Russians’ 11.

Did being small help the Polish army? Probably. But it wasn’t just their nimble size that led to their success. They were a smart army, led by Stanisław Żółkiewski, a talented tactical leader. They had a strong, dedicated cavalry, including the famed Winged Hussars, who charged the opposition multiple times, to the point of exhaustion. While the Poles did not win the war, this small army won this important battle.

For XTAR, staying nimble has always been a part of our company culture. Our end users may be gathering intelligence, keeping borders secure or other vital missions. As their needs often change rapidly, we must always be able to respond with dependable communications, regardless of weather conditions or location. From our side, that means bringing a customer onto our satellite in less than 24 hours. It also means on-board switching and steerable spot beams, all to allow for urgent reconfiguration of service. For our end users, our agility facilitates theirs, all leading to mission success.