At Alan, radical transparency is one of our five core values. We are transparent with our team, our shareholders, our members, and our community. For example, we share quarterly our Letter to Shareholders.
We believe radical transparency helps us build a better organization. It's why we share documents internally, broadly and systematically. Every Wednesday night, we share our Weekly Update to the whole team and to our key investors (all our investors at the beginning of Alan).
The Weekly Update summarizes the highlights, lowlights, the objectives of the week and progress on OKRs for every stream.
First, I write a general overview, talking about :
🌟 Strategy: in this first part, I take a step-back, and share my thoughts on where we are and how we are going. It can be a reaction to one of our achievements, how what we are doing today is connected to our mission or other important strategic topics I want to share with the team.
🎯 Key metrics: we publish the number of signed members, the ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue), and the Gross Margin.
💚 Member Story: we always share a Member Story (a tweet, a comment, an email). It can be either positive or negative remarks. It is important for us to remember that our members come first, and to be always connected to some feedback.
🏆 Value built this week: it is the list of main achievements done this week.
👎 Lowlights: we talk about the lowlights of the week: what we should have done, what we missed, where we were too slow, or behind objectives.
🧐 Top Alan priorities this week to come: we write a list of the 3 top priorities for the next week.
⛩ Culture: we share a few lines about Alan’s culture.
Then, each stream (Growth, Product, International...) gives more details on the week, and shares its Key Figures, Highlights, Lowlights and Top Problems to solve in the coming week.
At Alan, Distributed Ownership is one of our key values. Alaners are owners and thus, act on behalf of the entire company: leadership comes from everywhere at Alan. Therefore, every Alaner needs to have a precise idea of where we are as a company, on our path. Sharing this weekly update allows every Alaner to have context and correctly understand what the main topics in discussion are, and where we could be better.
To make great decisions, one should have a clear overview and a deep understanding of the company activity. Everyone should feel concerned by the current discussions.
Among other things, we listed some advantages of doing such updates:
🤝 Trust-based relationship
We are lucky to have a trust-based relationship with our investors, and we want it to last. I have no doubt that trust is based on knowledge and understanding, which are related to transparency.
Our investors need to be fully aligned with our vision, and we don’t want them to be surprised during board meetings. It helps us to be a lot more focused on strategic discussions during those meetings.
🤔 Ask them questions
Our investors also help us find answers to our questions or doubts. Share our difficulties and lowlights in the weekly is a way to have valuable feedback.
Every Monday, the document of the next Weekly Update is opened.
1st Part - General overview: I am in charge of this section. I update the Strategy, the Value Built this week, Lowlights, the Top Priorities for the next week, and Culture.
2nd Part - Metrics by stream: Each stream (Growth, Product, International…) has owners in charge of filling and updating this section. By the end of Wednesday afternoon, owners should have finished providing their elements on what we achieved and what we expect to do for the week to come.
I send a finalized email in the evening.
We sent our first weekly on November 15th, 2015. And it looked like that:
From then, we sent a Weekly Update every week, and tried to improve it every time.
Our Weekly Update has changed a lot since the first time we sent it, to adapt to Alan’s changes and needs. This format fits our current needs, rhythm and way to work and is helpful for Alaners and shareholders. However, it may have to evolve in the future to stay in line with Alan’s evolution.
I don’t think this format is, in absolute terms, the good one, nor that there is a unique way to communicate and share information within a team. On the contrary, it should really depend on the company, the CEO, and the way they work.