Helping families with family businesses, family offices and family foundations
overcome intergenerational challenges of governance, succession, family teams and inheritance

Resources for Family Enterprise Governance &
Leadership Across Generations

Succeeding over generations as a family with a family business or significant shared wealth is an incredible challenge that few families are able to manage. Over a 40 year career, Dennis Jaffe has developed tools and resources to help these “enterprising families” and their advisors meet this test.

This web site offers articles, tools, resources programs and consultation that help a business family cross generations, through creating a shared vision and values, sustaining personal relationships, building shared family enterprises, overcoming conflict among family members. and developing new family and business leadership.

These are complex challenges, and they cannot be overcome quickly or easily. When a family makes the commitment to work in these areas, I can help them develop a roadmap for where they want to go, and work together to develop the skills, agreements and practices that make this journey successful.

Bringing the Family Together

Many families today decide to convene a family meeting, or create a family council, to deal together with the challenges related to sustaining their family enterprises across generations. By working together thety want to develop agreements—often called a “family constitution” that organize relations between the family and their various business and financial enterprises.

My work with families involves helping family members work together, with the help of their professional advisors, to engage their most difficult issues, and come up with their own solutions. By convening family work sessions, family members can face the tough questions, listen to each other, and crystallize their unique values, principles and guidelines that move them toward agreement and an action plan for their family enterprise, and their family, futures.

I guide the family to create a safe setting to come together and move productively toward creating unique understandings, agreements, structures and processes to enable them to sustain themselves across generations. I also help the current and emerging family leaders develop their skills and ability to achieve these tasks. 

Supporting the Work of Professional Advisors

The family has a team of financial, legal and management advisors who help them. I have helped staffs of financial services, law firms, and family offices, to develop the skills to guide families. To work effectively, advisors need skills in interviewing, convening family meetings, and developing governance to enhance their professional skills. I offer advisor workshops to develop these skills and better serve their family clients.

Wise Counsel sponsors research and offers learning tools for advisors.

Wealth Advisor Training offers tools and resources for advisors, developed with my colleague Dr. James Grubman.

Current Activities

World Economic Forum doubts the value of family business!

A recent post on the Agenda for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland highlighted a study that purportedly found that family business were harmful to the European economy. The study was limited, and the conclusions were extremely misleading. A colleague of mine and I felt we had to comment and respond. We posted our response to the post, which we share here. We have received many wonderful notes of support for this.

Tightly knit

In Tightly knit Dennis Jaffe and Barbara R Hauser uncover nine hidden benefits of family meetings that strengthen both the family itself and its business.

 Dennis Jaffe and Barbara R Hauser, STEP Journal, March 2015 

Dennis Jaffe and Jim Grubman Interviewed by Tharawat Magazine

Dennis Jaffe and Jim Grubman are interviewed by Tharawat magazine, an international business publication dedicated to the best practices of family-owned businesses and entrepreneurship. The two family business experts explain their passion for family businesses and how they help family member communicate and achieve growth.

100 Year Families

In Keeping It In The Family Financial Advisor Magazine features Dennis Jaffe’s findings Good Fortune: Building the 100 Year Family Enterprise. Of special note by the magazine, the research provides specific information and their details in order to create a family culture and governance system beyond the first 3 generations of a family.

Tools and Resources

The Unique Impacts that Wealth Brings to Families

At the Private Wealth Network International Wealth Forum, Dr. Dennis Jaffe explored the different journeys people can take to wealth and the effects each can have.

The Values Edge

Defining Personal and Family Values

The Values Edge employs Values Cards to help an individual, couple, family or team to define their Personal Values Pyramid, and then work together to create a Family or Team Values Statement.

Each kit includes a deck of values cards, along with colored post-it stickers for transferring values to a Display Card that preserves your Values Pyramid in a visible format that can be worn as a name card. By sharing personal values arranged in colorful pyramids, people in a family or a work team can easily experience their similarities and differences.

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Talking it Through

A family cannot delegate the task of building trust or sharing information about their wealth to advisors—they eventually must meet and discuss these issues face to face. Family members must talk about the future together if they are to cross generations without disruption or unproductive conflict. This guide provides the framework for conducting effective family meetings about business and wealth.

Family Enterprise Assessment Tool (FEAT)

Developed by Dr. Jaffe and others, The FEAT is an online assessment tool designed for multi-generational families in business together to discover the current state of their family enterprise. Every family and business has strengths and opportunities for improvement. FEAT enables families to anonymously gather stakeholders’ perceptions in an easy and safe environment. A final report is then generated and can be used to hold productive conversations.

For more information, please visit Premier Growth.