Axya Core Values and Culture Statement ✨

At Axya our core values are the guiding force that binds every Axyan towards a common purpose. It is the environment in which we develop our company vision and shape our actions on the day-to-day.

These core values are therefore very important and used in all-facet of the company:

  • They are used to find Axyan in the wild and select them for hiring.
  • They help us during discussion to test if an ideas is fit enough.
  • They shapes how we build the product and how we talk to customers.
  • They gives freedom to all employee to take their own decision and initiatives.
  • They signal to us when something is wrong.

Understanding what each core values means is important to have a clear picture of how we work at Axya and why we do things in a certain way. These core values are tested and refined continuously in order to describe ourselves as precisely as possible.

So here is a complete breakdown of the core values with example of what we mean by each of them. If these core values resonate with you don’t hesitate to reach out to us for open position!

Structure and Overview

The core values are structured in 2 different dimension:

  • The first dimension is a linear hierarchical sequence from the first core value to the last. Meaning that to exhibit the latter core values fully you need to have the former present. For instance we believe that you cannot exhibit “Trust, Accountability and Empowerement” properly if you are not “Data-Driven”.
  • The second dimension is a grouping in terms of reach starting from the individual to the Axya community. It can be viewed as 3 concentric circle with the first set of core values applying on the individual, the middle ones to the interaction within the company and finally the last set to our customers.

It’s important to keep these dimension in mind while working. Even if an Axyan is purely doing customer facing work they need to keep themselves grounded to the core values of the individual level. Similarly, if an Axyan is working in non-customer facing tasks they need to look up towards the Customer level to position their individual work.

Individual Level:

  • Data-Driven
  • Iterative Problem Solver at Heart
  • Focused on the objectives and Lean in Execution
  • Passionate, Eager to Learn, and Driving Change

Company Level:

  • Radical Transparency, and Honesty
  • Trust, Accountability, and Empowerment 
  • Company Success Through Borderless Collaboration

External Level:

  • Delighting Customers is our Top Priority

𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗟𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹:

The first level is around an individual Axyan. These core values do not require interaction with other people to be visible and should be found in each Axyan own work. This set of core values enhance greatly the impact of the other core values that deals with other people within the company and our customers. It also provide a framework for how all type of work should be done regardless of the specific of the tasks.

Data-Driven

Data is at the very core of our company. It guides our decision making and defines what is possible. With it we unlock clarity of mind and are able to take actions with foresight on the potential outcome.

Being data driven means to actively collect data, understand it, synthesize it, in order to make a decision. With this core value, taking decision is based on information at hand and on the facts, not on vague assumptions, gut feelings or status quo.

Not all data are quantitative though. Qualitative information can also brings much needed context around why some numbers are the way they are and it should be used just as well.

It’s also important to note that being data-driven doesn’t mean waiting to collect all of the data that is possible before making a decision. If the trend is pointing to a certain direction and that you are confident that more data won’t change this fact then taking action is the right thing to do.

Here is an example to illustrate this core value:

Two people are arguing as to what the best course of action is for the product in terms of new features. The debate is heated and highly emotional. One person believes that a feature is critical to bring the application to the next level. The other person talked to another CEO and believe that we need to have a completely different feature than proposed, it’s a must. After having looked at the Axya Employee Handbook for guidance they realized that they aren’t being data driven as there are a lot of unspoken assumptions and hidden factors.

The two of them decide to write a data-driven report stating why they feel a given feature should be built. In the report they state their assumption, constraints if any, logically build their argumentation based on the data they have at hand and finally come to a conclusion. They then debate each point of the data-driven report without looking at the conclusion. The debate is calm, composed and logical. One particular core assumption from one person has been proven to be false after researching a bit. The whole argument hinged on that assumption so the person happily dismissed his proposition to side with the other one.

In this example both individuals were data-driven in their methodology which led to the most probable solution being implemented.

Readings and Related Content:

  • To learn more about data-driven methodology in a business context the book Principles by Ray Dalio is strongly recommended.

Iterative Problem Solver at Heart

When you are working on a subject at the fringe of what is possible there will be a lot of uncertainty and problems that will arise! This is 100% normal and to be expected.

Being an iterative problem solver at heart is perfect for that setting because it means the following:

  • You love solving problem and you don’t mind having to think for yourself about what to do.
  • You go into problem solving mode with an iterative mindset in which you acknowledge that some solution might not be optimal, but that iterating over a solution will lead to better outcomes and learning.

This is important because these kind of settings where there is lots of unknown and potential issues that can be solved is prone to induce stress for some people. Someone that thrive in this kind of environment will get excited by new challenge and will understand that tasks will need to be prioritized by their expected probability of outcome.

Here is an example to illustrate this core value:

An employee is faced with a new challenge of increasing the engagement of customers on the platform past a certain phase of the lifecycle within the app.

This situation is very blurry and exploratory for everyone involved because this is the first time that engagement at this point of the lifecycle is deemed worthwhile to put effort in.

The employee doesn’t stress too much about the unknown as this is the kind of problem they like to solve. They take a morning to map what they know about the lifecycle up to that point and state the assumption they have that needs to be validated.

During the afternoon they start the first iteration of their plan to increase the engagement which involve making a short deck and sending it to a few of the users.

Weeks pass and the employee now understand very well what they need to implement at this point of the lifecycle of the application. They are at the 10th iteration of their attempt to solve the problem and they already have:

  • Documentation that explain and map the current state of the understanding.
  • KPIs that map what needs to be monitored for engagement and what the current numbers are.
  • Assumptions for each iteration and the learning gained at each phase.

At that 11th iteration the employee knows that the very simple solutions they cobbled together won’t be enough for the next round of validation and they already communicated the next steps with the department best suited to do the next iteration.

The employee is happy of everything he learned during this process and looks forward to see how the project he started will flourish!

Readings and Related Content:

  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  • The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Focused on the Objectives and Lean in Execution

Being focused means not being distracted by shiny projects that won’t help you achieve your mission. Having this clarity of mind of where you’re going and being able to say no to opportunities that are not aligned with it is a crucial skill to have.

Being lean means to eliminate wasteful endeavors during the whole process of execution to achieve the goal. By removing part of how things are done and reshaping the traditional execution route you are able to get to your goal faster.

It also means to not try to get to perfection up front. A key component of being lean is the build, measure and learn cycle in which you want to maximize the rotation during your goal achievement journey. By starting with an idea, validating it and collecting data you are able to improve your idea which in turn makes the thing you do more efficient.

Here is an example to illustrate this core value:

Yacine is planning a new service for our customer that will use machine learning to predict the cost of their part, the optimal geometry for the drawing and that will estimate the time before they will contract. This will allow the buyer to save time, however it will take approximately a year to collect enough data to predict these outputs.

Instead of starting the project, Yacine looks back at the objective for the quarter and he realizes that the focus really needs to be about increasing conversion rate. Therefore he knows he needs to focus his effort in making sure the platform has RFQ that will convert into a contract. He therefore decided to only keep the prediction of the cost of the parts.

He knows it will take months before enough data will be on the platform to do such a feature. Instead of building the thing upfront, Yacine decides to test if buyers even care about being told a price during their RFQ process.

He asks the help of Alexandre who is pretty good at estimating the price of a part. As soon as a new RFQ is created, they jump on it and start to estimate the price of it given the information provided. Once the estimation is done, they rapidly call the buyer who created the RFQ to give a detailed breakdown of how this part should cost and for what reason.

The buyer is very pleased, because that estimation is way over budget for them even for the lower bracket provided. He removed the RFQ from the marketplace, thus impacting the conversion negatively. If this assessment was made upfront, the conversion rate would have not become worse which proves the point that this feature is useful.

This was the first cycle for Yacine, he can then safely move to the next cycle! 

Readings and Related Content:

  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Passionate, Eager to Learn and Driving Change

One mix of attributes that make individual more productive and impactful is being passionate, eager to learn and wanting to drive change. These three ingredients create an environment where the person is highly motivated by the work and stimulated to push what is possible to new grounds.

Passion is key when working in a given field because spending day after day doing something that we don’t care about is draining. It will demotivate the individual to the point that their output will be lessened. It will also make the individual less likely to want to dig deeper into problems/issues if they already feel drained by their work. On the flip-side a passionate employee will feel energized by the work and will look forward to get into the zone where they can do just that!

Having an eagerness to learn is a super power that magically lower all road block in projects. By having this drive to peek further ahead on what is possible it makes all problems becomes opportunity to grow which is highly motivating for the individual. It also makes the individual with this inner fire very easy to manage because most problems raised also have solution attached to them.

Finally, combining these two attributes with a inner drive to change the individual environment for the better makes all the difference. By pushing to make change that are beneficial the individual is able to think for themselves and elevate their work to a level that is increasingly better!

Here is an example to illustrate this core value:

A new machine learning engineer at Axya just got off the onboarding period and is amazed about all of the possible improvement he can provide to the model already built! This employee genuinely love machine learning and is a subject that he won’t stop talking about if asked about it.

The first real assignment that he was given is quite a complex project that involve geo-data that he never worked with before. Happy to have a new opportunity to learn something in his field of interest he spends some time learning about the data format and the best practices.

After some initial work on the project he realize that there is a bottleneck in the code that he is writing. Most of the runtime between each iteration is taken up by lengthy conversion of data format.

This is a wasteful and problematic, especially if they want to retrain this model periodically. The employee flag this issue to the manager and let them know that having a data pipeline for conversion with a separate table will solve this issue.

This type of data pipeline was never built before, but the employee spearhead the development and is able to setup something workable very quickly to prove that it can work.

This new change allow their project to be developed event faster and is very welcomed by other engineers which were struggling with the same kind of issues!

Readings and Related Content:

  • DRIVE: The surprising truth about what motivates us.
  • Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗟𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹:

These sets of core values entails interaction with other team members within the organization. These core values make the work of each individual Axyan compounds by leverage teams and the whole weight of the company. The purpose of this core value is to elevate the work of everyone to achieve our objectives faster.

Radical Transparency and Honesty

In order to make sure that we can be lean in our operations, we need to be able to see the whole flow of work throughout the company. This means being able to check the workload in different departments, see where bottlenecks are and be upfront about problems we are all encountering.

Being radically transparent means being able to show the work we do, being able to visualize conversations by making them as public as possible and being transparent about our thought processes.

This ties up with honesty as we can’t have a working radical transparency if people are scrambling the data by being dishonest.

This value is not only internal to the company, but in how we operate with external entities. This is so because if we are dishonest and opaque with others, it is not reasonable to expect that this same behavior won’t be replicated inside the company.

Here is an example to illustrate this core value:

Two people are working in different departments and are co-dependent for a project to be completed. However, the project is stalling because there are always delays in one technical department while the other one keeps putting more and more pressure so that the technical part gets done.

Seeing this inefficiency the two people invite the other in their tools in order to better understand why there are such delays. Having this transparency was useful because they now understand that the delays are caused by a bottleneck in the technical department.

The feature that is blocking the work is very complex and the requirements were very clear that this is a direct request from the stakeholders. After making the assessment they realized that it would take them 2 more months of development to get it done!

After meeting with the stakeholder to ask for this feature to be dropped, they get told that this is a definite requirement in order to ship the product. Trying to increase transparency the two people try to understand why this is a definite requirement only to find that the argumentation doesn’t hold.

They tell the stakeholder the truth by being radically transparent and show that there will be 2 more months of delay. Understanding that, the stakeholder admitted that he wasn’t honest and that it was just a feature he really wanted to get into the product.

Understanding that his dishonesty has cost the company a lot of time he vows to never again bring a feature without a clear rationale as to why.

Readings and Related Content:

  •  Principles by Ray Dalio once again!

Trust, Accountability and Empowerment

Once it’s clear that the other party is acting in good faith, in the best of their capability, a trust environment needs to be put in place. If someone is hired to do something, that they are transparent and honest there is no reason to not trust them to do their work well. They should be held accountable to whatever project they lead, be empowered to explore and achieve the work to the fullest extent of their capacity!

By trusting the other party to do the work, it frees up a lot of resources that would be geared towards intensely monitoring them in order to figure out if they are actively doing their work. By making them accountable to handle the decision making in their project it also frees up a lot of resources by reducing the double checking required to take decisions.

Then, by empowering the employees to achieve their project, resources can be allocated to remove roadblocks, provide feedback or ideas and unlock budget in order to bring the project to completion.

This value is a crucial part in making remote work possible.

Here is an example to illustrate this core value:

 A manager is overseeing 10 different projects in his department. However, the manager became a bottleneck as he can not approve or review everyone’s work fast enough. This is creating problems as his managerial tasks are suffering because of it. The project owners are spending most of their time waiting to receive their review or have the manager answer basic questions instead of moving their project.

Looking at the Axya Employee Handbook for guidance, the manager realizes that he has a severe trust issue with his employees. However, they have never failed him and he realized that he is worried that they won’t do as good of a job as him. By micromanaging them he realized that they are having a hard time progressing like he did.

The manager decided to give complete ownership to all of his 10 people, while telling them he trusted them to do the right thing. However, he made it very clear that they are held accountable for doing a good job in designing good processes in order to hit their goals.

The manager doesn’t leave them to themselves however, he spends most of his now enormous free time helping them if they flag an issue or if they are in need of brainstorming. He does regular checkups to see if they are having trouble without being intrusive and he makes sure that he can clear roadblock that are out of their power while they focus on their project.

The department productivity goes up! The team is more happy and they are now helping each other out, making the whole department learn together!

Readings and Related Content:

  • Effective DevOps and Peopleware
  • Measure What Matters

Company Success Through Borderless Collaboration

At Axya, the company is driven by overarching objectives ordered by priority levels. All the work that we do is anchored on these company-level objectives.

This setup is perfect for high impact collaboration to flourish! This is so because the incentive for each of the teams/departments to help one another is very high.

If one department is working on a lower priority objective and they are able to provide help in meaningful way to a higher level objectives, the natural tendency is for this to happen organically.

This core value represent this behavior of always being mindful of how the company as a whole is doing and if there are other teams that might need help. Actively dropping some work to help peers succeed is something that is valued and promoted at Axya.

Here is an example to illustrate this core value:

Yacine just finished the release for a machine learning model that the product team can use in their application. He is very satisfied with himself because he was able to get this done very quickly thanks to the improvement in process he introduced.

However, after updating the task on Jira notifying to the product team that the release is ready, he sees that they won’t be able to introduce his model in this release. This is problematic because one of the objective for the quarter depends on it.

He looks in the current sprint and notice that most of the work is being tied up by merge request reviews and quality assurance testing. Asking around why this happen he realize that one of the developer got sick and another is on a parental leave! This has put a strain on the product team productivity.

Instead of waiting for this to be resolved, Yacine propose to help out review MRs and to do QA testing for the product team. Having literally nothing else better to do, he is able to greatly reduce the bottleneck. The whole team is happy because they are now way more productive than before and are able to get back on track!

The product team were able to put in production the new machine learning model, just in time for the objectives to be attained!

Readings and Related Content:

  • Effective DevOps and Peopleware

𝗖𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗟𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹:

The last level is the interaction with the customers. By making sure that each Axyan individual work and their teamwork is optimal, we can ensure that we will be in a good position to deliver as much value as possible to our customers.

Delighting Customers is our Top Priority

The company’s sole purpose is to make sure our client, buyer and manufacturer in the manufacturing industry, are finding value with what we offer. If the clients are not satisfied with what they see, Axya will cease to exist.

The clients not only have to be treated with respect when we are talking to them, they should also be treated with respect when they are not there. They are the one ensuring that we have jobs and that we can create a beautiful place to do what we all love.

This empathy that we create towards them is a power that allows us to better understand what they need and to deliver high value products!

Here is an example to illustrate this core value:

An employee just got off a call with a client that seemed particularly lost. The employee was very polite in the meeting, but he had to stop himself from laughing at the technical ineptitude of the client. He was about to make a meme about it on the #random channel, however he stopped himself before pressing send. He had an uneasy feeling that this wasn’t right. It wasn’t the first call like this that he went on this week.

Looking at the Axya Employee Handbook for guidance, he realized that he might be missing something very important in dismissing the clients struggle in private. As he was looking at the #random channel he seen other such post that he was about to make. The general feeling in the company seemed to be that their clients were not smart and couldn’t understand their product.

Trying to put himself in the shoes of our clients, he realized that there was something fundamentally wrong with how they were developing their product. There were multiple accounts of people not understanding the new login feature that use facial recognition. Most of the clients didn’t even have a webcam on during the meeting.

After calling some of the clients he met, he realized that an overwhelming majority of the clients didn’t have a webcam either attached or embedded in their old computer. The login feature was not only useless it was hurting the client ability to operate.

With this new understanding, the employee made a nice post on P2 showing other employees how their wonderful customers found a fatal flaw in their product design.

Realizing that thinking about customers disrespectfully the company was headed directly towards disaster, the whole culture shifted towards a more client positive one.

More and more people were praising the customers for the information they provided and a handful of them were even invited to the quarterly company potluck!

*all of these example are fictional btw we do not have a facial recognition login at Axya even though it sound very cool.

Readings and Related Content:

  • Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Final Words

The core values at Axya is the vital fabric onto which everything else rest upon. The vision, the product, how we go about entering the market, how we fire and promote employees, all are based upon this mindset that is encompassed in the core values.

Taking the time to deeply understand these core values is one of the most important activity an employee should undertake before working on anything else. This will allow all of the subsequent work to be 10X more effective and aligned with the rest of the team!

Do these core values resonate with you ? Take a look at our career page and join the Axya team !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Utilisez le formulaire
ci-dessous pour nous écrire

Submit my application

Axya Core Values and Culture Statement ✨