How to leverage an open culture: a conversation with AXA Venture Partners about scaling up

Throughout my time working with companies across the world in scaling up their businesses, I’ve witnessed a few instances where the team has to make the big decision of pulling out of a vertical that’s bringing in revenue –  in order to grow faster in another. 

This can be really scary for the whole team, especially when you’re not privy to the information that is inspiring decision-makers to move forward along that particular path. However, there is a solution to that. 

On our most recent episode of the ScaleUp Valley podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Imran Akram, General Partner at AXA Venture Partners. During the episode, he highlighted the importance of making company information and data available to the whole team. This kind of openness can allow your company as a whole to stabilize risk profiles and enable each employee to make better decisions that lead towards the common goal. 

Check out the whole episode here or read my highlights below!

Putting Rockefeller Habit Number 10 into practice

Akram’s thoughts on creating an open culture, in which employees can make more productive and informed decisions, are completely aligned with the ScaleUp Valley methods of growing a company. Following the Rockefeller Habits for scaling up, this idea touches directly on habit number 10. 

“The company’s plan and performance are visible to everyone.”

This is an important one because, as Akram pointed out, there are always big choices that each team needs to make that will shape the fate of the company. Using the example of the product team, he described a scenario in which the team is planning their product roadmap. 

When making the choice between, for example, designing new features that will speed up product implementation versus features that will help you open into a new vertical, you have to look at the value that each will bring to all aspects of the company. 

When each employee has the ability to look into the financial and operational data that would come with making either decision, the choice will not only be more informed – it will allow the team to feel aligned on their road to scaling up. 

Investors as a catalyst for rebalancing risk profiles when scaling up

All of Akram’s insights into cultivating an open culture have come from his experience as an investor and working with companies across a broad scope. AVP invests in enterprise software, fintech, consumer tech and digital health, as well as other technologies relevant to insurance and asset management.

Although each company has its own unique set of goals and challenges to overcome, Akram shared that a shared goal in terms of scaling up is making sure that everyone has the information they need to make decisions. 

Not only that but it helps to stabilize the fear of big choices, rebalancing the risk profiles of each person on the team. He also finds that investors are a catalyst for inspiring that process, and he works to bring that level of openness into any of their partnerships.

Of course, there is a lot more to learn from Akram about the investor relationship, which you can witness for yourself by listening to the whole episode here

Then, keep listening and keep scaling!

– Mike Dias