What capabilities does the next generation need?

Family business adviser and researcher Dennis Jaffe, Ph.D., has been working on a “100-Year Family Enterprise Project,” a study of successful business families from around the world. The study has been conducted by Wise Counsel Research, a public charity and think tank, with funding from Merrill Lynch.

In the just-completed third working paper based on his research, entitled “Releasing the Potential of the Next Generation,” Jaffe discusses how these families prepare their next-generation members. Here are the desired capabilities that their family education programs aim to develop in the rising generation:

  • Character: Ethical sensitivity
  • Competence: Financial and governance/ownership skills
  • Commitment/Caring: Stewardship; being a productive part of the family and a good partner
  • Connections/Community: Building trust, personal commitment to each other
  • Collaboration/Compromise: Ability to work together with give and take
  • Communication/Transparency: Sharing information, knowing what there is
  • Change-ability/Resilience: Ability to adapt and change
  • Curiosity/Creativity: Ability to seek out and discover novel possibilities
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