Cross Cultures – Recently Featured in New York Times

Each family that runs its own business also has its own culture, say two psychologists who work with wealthy families. And understanding those cultures — which these psychologists break down into three groups — can make it easier to resolve intergenerational or cross-cultural conflicts that arise as the business matures and expands.

The psychologists, James Grubman and Dennis T. Jaffe, last year published a book that offers a framework for understanding the three cultural approaches that they say prevail in family businesses. The “individualists,” who tend to be clustered in North America and Western Europe, foster creativity at the employee level. The “collective harmony” view, which prevails in parts of Asia, views family and business as an integrated whole.

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Governing the Family Enterprise

Just Released: New Working Paper from Wise Counsel Research

Upon reaching the third generation, business families face a set of new challenges. Internal and external forces threaten the family’s ability to continue as partners. But the potential for what they can do if they decide to continue is incredible. A family reaching this milestone faces a choice point — should we continue together as a financial or business entity, or just distribute what we have and let each household more forward in their own way? A few courageous families make a conscious decision to continue united. By sharing the experience of families who have successfully crashed through this barrier, we offer a roadmap of the hard work and expansive outcomes that result.

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After Success: What’s Next

I recently had the opportunity to address the Tugboat Institute, a gathering of entrepreneurs who are focused on long-term values in their companies.

Dave Whorton, founder of Tugboat:

For Evergreen entrepreneurs, building a company that will last more than 100 years means taking great care with transitions such as transferring leadership within our businesses and transferring wealth, values and stewardship within our families. In his Tugboat Institute Summit 2016 talk, Dennis Jaffe of Wise Council Research says that by fostering a spirit of transparency, engagement and shared learning, Evergreen leaders will inspire a future generation of courageous business innovators.


See the featured video here.

Cross Cultures: How Global Families Negotiate Change Across Generations

Dennis Jaffe and Jim Grubman have released their most recent collaboration Cross Cultures: How Global Families Negotiate Change Across Generations. The book discusses a deepening of the understanding of family wealth and family enterprises citing theories coming out of cross-cultural psychology and negotiation strategies. Furthering these ideas, the book explains how three main culture types around the world, Individualist, Collective Harmony, and Honor cultures, differ from each other along important dimensions of communication, family orientation, trust building, authority, leadership, and decision-making.

Recent articles in Tharawat magazine and the STEP Journal, outlining the concepts and recommendations in Cross Cultures, published in November 2015.

Releasing the Potential of the Rising Generation: How Long-Lasting Family Enterprises Prepare Their Successors

This is the third working paper in the 100 Year Family Enterprise Research Project. Releasing the Potential shares the experiences of how families are developing, educating and engaging the “human capital” to create a new generation of family leadership.

Following is a webinar presented by Trusted Family, that introduces the key ideas from this paper:


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