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.

Announcing publication of Borrowed From Your Grandchildren: Evolution of 100-Year Family Enterprises.2022-01-26T03:37:05-08:00

New Book – Finding Her Voice and Creating a Legacy

Portraits of Pioneering Women Leading Wealthy Families

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.

New Book – Finding Her Voice and Creating a Legacy2022-01-26T03:56:23-08:00

Cross Cultures – 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.

Cross Cultures – Featured in New York Times2022-01-15T19:08:00-08:00

Social Impact in Hundred Year Family Enterprises

New Working Paper from Wise Counsel Research

This is the sixth in a series of publications sharing key insights on how Centennial families have preserved their wealth, impact, and connection as a family across generations. Our team conducted over 100 interviews of both very public and highly private families who, as owners of large successful global family enterprises for more than three generations, have been “stewards of wealth.” We call these families “generative” because they continually add all forms of social, personal, and financial value. This paper looks at their philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, and community investments as expressions of the families’ values and purposes and at how this commitment is transmitted across generations.

Social Impact in Hundred Year Family Enterprises2022-01-26T03:44:30-08:00

Resilience of 100-Year Family Enterprises

This is the 5th in a series of working papers reporting on our intensive interview study of long-term successful families around the world. No business remains the same after a 100-year journey. Every long-lasting family enterprise learns how to navigate developmental and business crises as it crosses generations. This paper presents the business journeys of the nearly 100 long-lasting families in our study. Their resilience stems from continual innovation and transformation. We look at their major transformations—harvesting, pruning, diversifying and grounding—and at how the family is able to build an adaptive, sustainable culture.

Resilience of 100-Year Family Enterprises2022-01-15T19:08:00-08:00

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.

After Success: What’s Next2017-06-25T11:14:41-07:00

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.

Cross Cultures: How Global Families Negotiate Change Across Generations2016-10-11T16:39:06-07:00

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:


Releasing the Potential of the Rising Generation: How Long-Lasting Family Enterprises Prepare Their Successors2022-01-15T19:08:00-08:00
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