Dennis T. Jaffe, PhD

Resources for Family Governance & Leadership Across Generations

Succeeding as a family business over generations is an incredible challenge few families manage well. Over a 40-year career, as professor, organizational consultant and family therapist I have helped families with a family business, family office or family foundation, overcome personal, organizational and governance challenges that get in the way of successful and fulfilling generational transfer of businesses, wealth, values, commitments and legacies. My research, writing, and practice tools have helped define the field of consulting about family business and wealth.

These complex challenges cannot be resolved quickly or easily. When a family achieves alignment around its vision, magical things can happen. When they make the commitment to work together, I help work with them to develop a roadmap towards the future, and develop the skills, agreements and practices that make their journey successful.

Family Consulting & Education

A family business consultant works with the family to build the family vision, agreements and infrastructure to make the transformations necessary to build a strong, vibrant and energized next generation. The consultant helps the family become an aligned family team where each person understands and acknowledges their roles and responsibilities, and which builds on all forms of family “capital” to thrive for another generation. I work with families large and small over time to make this happen.

Family Meetings

Coming together as a
Cross-Generational Team

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Governance

Building a Culture of
Family Sustainability

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Succession Planning

Designing for a lifetime of
Multiple Generations

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Advisor Education

Guiding institutions for
Effective Leadership

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Resources & Tools

For many years, I have sought to create accessible, practical tools and resources that help global family enterprises navigate the rough waters of crossing generations. This section offers a selection from my work, most of which can be used and downloaded at no cost. I welcome feedback and comments from my readers.

Articles & Working Papers

A full library of the papers I’ve written related to Family Wealth and the Advisors who work with them

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Pubs & Family Meeting Tools

A selection of my most sought after publications and cross-generational tools for effective family meetings

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This website contains many articles, tools and resources for family enterprises and advisors. Sign up here and you will have access to view, download and share the contents. Your privacy is assured.

The Values Edge 2.0
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ANNOUNCING

Newly Revised: The Values Edge 2.0 Toolkit

Defining and Acting  on Personal and Family Values

The Values Edge 2.0 is a tool kit that enables advisors and coaches how to assist individuals and families to create a Personal Values Pyramid and Family Values Statement. These session help increase purpose, engagement, resilience, and alignment within and across generations.

Used for 30 years, by thousands of families worldwide, to appreciate differences and find common ground. Extends the values driven leadership model of Dr. Dennis Jaffe and Dr. Cynthia Scott.

This newly revised toolkit features an updated model of 8 “values clusters”, responding to over 10 years of user feedback. The new model gives a clearer view of your approach to your social world, and your style of acting. By sharing personal values arranged in colorful pyramids, people in a family or a work team can easily experience their similarities and differences to find alignment on shared values.

After interviewing more than 100 financially successful families who have prospered over more than three generations, from 20 countries, Dennis Jaffe is proud to share their wisdom in his new book.
This book offers practical guidance for families moving across generations by sharing practices, skills and activities that can help them along this path.
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.
This book explains the practical, commonsense strategies that families in each culture can use to resolve the differences threatening the fabric of the family.

Read My Column for Forbes about Leadership

Here are my latest contributions to Forbes. I have written dozens of articles there, sharing insights about how successful family businesses thrive generation after generation.

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Insights about Family Resilience amid Global Crises

During this time of global crises, upheaval and opportunity for reflection on what is really important, families are rethinking what they want to be, and how to respond as individuals, families and enterprises. The world will be a new place and many of the things we assumed in the past will no longer be true. Below are a few short talks I want to share that draw from what I have learned about resilient family enterprise.

Importance of the Rising Generation in Family Enterprise

Becoming a Generative Family

Voices in Leadership with Amy Hart Clyne & Dennis Jaffe

COVID-19: Lessons From 100-Year-Old Family Businesses

African Family Firm Conference summarizing key points from my new book.

Talk at YPO Family Business Forum, June 2018 on resiliency in family business.

February 2019 talk to group at Mutual Trust in Melbourne Australia.

Featured Thinking

Announcing publication of Borrowed From Your Grandchildren: Evolution of 100-Year Family Enterprises.

Family enterprises form the majority of businesses large and small in every country in the world. At the same time, few are able to sustain themselves with the same level of wealth and success even into their second generation and sustaining shared family wealth after the third generation is nearly improbable.

Overcoming these challenges is the subject of my new book, Borrowed From Your Grandchildren: The Evolution of 100-Year Family Enterprises (Wiley, 2020). As each generation of a family enterprise becomes larger and more complex, the book describes how the family must evolve through internal and external challenges to remain cohesive.

Borrowed From Your Grandchildren presents the findings of a multiyear project in which researchers interviewed more than 100 families around the globe to understand the evolution of family enterprises that have succeeded for 100 years or more. I share stories of long-lasting families that point to elements of families’ experiences and learnings that allowed them to survive for the long term.

In a time when there is much concern about the concentration of wealth in the hands of “the 1 percent,” this study adds to the dialogue. It shows how, in many successful family enterprises, business values and culture aren’t focused solely on generation of wealth, but on using resources responsibly.

I have prepared a short guide to the key elements of the book, that includes action items for a family wanting to look ahead toward a century of success: 8 Insights from Long-Lasting Global Enterprising Families.

Read New York Times Article

A Toolkit of Insights from the 100-Year Research Study

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Many readers of Borrowed From Your Grandchildren have asked for a short version that contains the key insights and action steps that a family can take. Here is a copy of this toolkit that you can use and share with families who want to continue their journey to become a generative, value-creating long-lasting family enterprise.

New Book: Finding Her Voice and Creating a Legacy

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Announcing a new book based on a study of matriarchs—stories of women leaders of family enterprise from the first and later generations, who did not expect to become leaders.

Cross Cultures – Featured in New York Times

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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.