For years, Aviva Sapers has wanted to write a vision statement for her company. Thanks to her Forum group, she’s finally getting it done.
Everyone in her group is embarking on the same project of crafting a corporate vision. At each meeting, they share progress and get feedback.
“We all decided to work on visioning processes,” says Sapers, chief executive of Sapers & Wallack, an insurance, employee benefits and financial management firm in Newton. “It helps me focus on setting up our five-year plan.”
Members come to each meeting with their latest draft for others to review. The collective input advances Sapers and her peers toward completing their vision. She calls it “an iterative process” where members ask each other questions such as, “What do you mean by this?” and “Is this aligned with what you want to achieve with your business?”
As a starting point, each member listed their “prouds”—the business accomplishments for which they are most proud. This helped them build a vision around what differentiates their business from competitors.
Sapers also values the objective input she gets from her Forum. When she discusses personnel issues with the group, she gains a broader perspective.
“A member will tell me, ‘I haven’t heard you say anything positive about this employee in six months,’” Sapers says. “Hearing something like that speeds up decision-making immensely.”
She also enjoys assisting with her peers’ business challenges. When another member discussed her uncertainty about how to compensate a newly hired executive—and whether she should grant him a percentage ownership of the firm—Sapers asked, “Do you really want to give up ownership?”
“No,” the member replied.
Sapers suggested ways her peer could structure the executive’s compensation without giving up her ownership, but still enable him to benefit if she sold the company.