Publications and

Meeting Tools


Just Released: New Working Paper from Wise Counsel Research

Governing the Family Enterprise

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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.

Releasing the Potential of the Rising Generations

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The secret to building great family enterprises is the ability to foster rising generations who are well prepared and eager to meet the enterprises yet-to-come challenges. Based on interviews with more than 70 enterprising families, Releasing the Potential of the Rising Generations shares unique experience based insights into successful transitions of family enterprises over at least three generations. These “100 Year Families,” over the centuries, have created and sustained enterprises that generate over US$200 MM in annual revenues.

Good Fortune: Building a Hundred Year Enterprise

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Through 18 case studies we illustrate how each of the 38 families organized its family and business or financial affairs, thus parting the curtain on very public and highly private families. While we have protected our respondents’ confidentiality, their stories shed light on their internal values, organization and activities, and how they overcame often-significant crises and conflicts.

Three Pathways to Evolutionary Survival

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Just as we benchmark financial and organizational performance, so family business owners want to benchmark best practices of governance and family interaction that help sustain their family enterprises over generations. This study defines and compares the best practices used by 192 of the largest and most successful global families to preserve their wealth and connection as a family across several generations.


Cross Cultures: How Global Families Negotiate Change Across Generations

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Cross Cultures 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.

Stewardship in Your Family Enterprise

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After a family has created wealth in a successful family business, they naturally want to see the wealth create success and fulfillment in the next generation, and the continuation of some form of shared family enterprise. But family relationships do not easily make for good business or financial partnerships, and the family must work hard to succeed over generations.

Working With the Ones You Love

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Acclaimed guide for families about the challenges of working together—how to deal with conflict, succession, work roles, planning for the future and other predictable aspects of combining work and family. Includes many self-assessment tools and family activities to promote effective work and family relationships.

Working With Family Businesses

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A handbook for family business advisors—lawyers, accountants, financial planners and business consultants—to help their clients manage the complexity of family business. How to be an effective process consultant to families in business, with many tools and useful techniques.

Co-Authors: David Bork, Leslie Dashew, Sam Lane and George Heisler

Family Meeting Tools

The Values Edge

Defining Personal and Family Values

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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.

Family Enterprise Assessment Tool (FEAT)

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Developed by Dr. Jaffe and Premier Growth, the Family Enterprise Assessment Tool is the first online navigational tool enabling multi-generational families in business together to discover the current state of their family enterprise, providing an opportunity for creating a framework for structured discussion to effectively make family and business decisions that are right for them.

Every family and business has strengths and areas for improvement. The Family Enterprise Assessment Tool enables your family to anonymously gather family/business stakeholders’ perceptions in an easy and safe environment to provide a snapshot in time. It then provides a detailed analysis of all the data so you can hold productive family and business conversations vital for shaping the future of the family and enterprise.

Talking it Through and Handbook for Conducting Effective Family Meetings

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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. Talking it Through provides the framework for conducting effective family meetings about business and wealth.

The monograph Talking it Through, offered some basic tools and resources for setting up a family meeting. The Handbook for Conducting Effective Family Meetings offers more detail and concrete suggestions for setting up and conducting family meetings about money, wealth, and family business. It also contains many specific suggestions for activities that make a successful family meeting. Primarily for advisors, but families will find it useful when they are planning and designing meetings.