REVIEW: Stewardship in Your Family Enterprise: Developing Responsible Family Leadership Across Generations

Written by Dennis T Jaffe © 2010

Dr. Jaffe’s book is an encyclopedic reference that provides a wealth of information for families who own businesses — from effective governance and decision making through communication and constructive conflict. He covers such topics as succession, leadership, structural tools i.e. family constitution, family code of conduct, effective family meetings.  He takes a novel approach and suggests that stewardship is not just a component of family and wealth transition but rather an overarching umbrella and the key to multi-generational family success.  He also asserts there are sixtypes of wealth that are inherited and stewarded: spiritual, financial, human, family, structural, and societal.  He reflects that general stakeholder involvement is an important foundation for families going through a wealth transition.  And finally he suggests that the roles of elders are critical to envisioning a family legacy that will be stewarded by their heirs.

Mr. Jaffe is a practitioner with a wealth of experience and many colorful examples and illustrations to help make the book both interesting and useful.  His orientation is to build on the positive instead of trying to fix the negative, resolving a problem before it becomes something larger by checking in, employing Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, and utilizing the tool of appreciative inquiry to increase the power of listening within families who are conflicting.  This book is an amalgam of thoughtful insights and practical suggestions with illustrating case studies, and, ultimately, a fine reference book for families on this journey.