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Sloan School of Management

Future Family Enterprise: Sustaining Multigenerational Success

Future Family Enterprise: Sustaining Multigenerational Success
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Recent research indicates that most families that achieve financial success—typically through a family company—lose their success within three generations. Why do some family enterprises derail while others prosper? This new program for multigenerational families will help you understand and implement the important driving factors of long-term, enduring, family enterprise success. The course also examines where family enterprises are going and what will drive their success in the future economy.

The Future Family Enterprise program leads multigenerational families through a stimulating week-long conversation that produces clarity on the path ahead for each participating family and its enterprise. Your family will learn practical concepts and tested practices—organized around examples of multigenerational success and failure—to aid your thinking, improve your long-term planning and alignment, and shape the roadmap of your family enterprise system. In this six-day program (Sunday afternoon to Friday at noon), faculty explore the opportunities, challenges, and future trends for owning, governing, and managing a family company and a broader family enterprise organization over multiple generations. Conversations and class sessions focus on the distinct issues faced by multigenerational families that have survived beyond the founder-stage. The program views the family enterprise through the lens of ownership, helping you to understand the important decisions that are yours to make as well as how to govern and plan for the longevity of your family’s enterprise activities.In addition to interactive classroom work and exchanges among families from around the world, your family will have daily, private, facilitated discussions with an experienced family enterprise advisor to focus on your interests and agenda. Families should attend in teams spanning two or more generations. Each family team will leave the program with a tailored action plan built together over the course.

Important questions addressed include:

  • How is technology shaping industries and companies, and how must family-owned businesses adapt?
  • What are the emerging strategies for capitalizing, owning, and controlling family companies?
  • What are the trends in governance of multigenerational companies, family offices, ownership groups, families, and foundations?
  • How are families themselves modernizing and remaining united in this mobile, globalized world?
  • With Generation X assuming leadership roles, and the emergence of the Millennial Generation, how are succession planning and next generation talent development more complex today? How do families prepare for generational transitions in this fast-changing environment?
  • What are the latest strategies for steering and sustaining a complex, multigenerational family enterprise, with a growing number of family owners, for another generation or more?

The combined experience of faculty and participants produces deep understandings and even profound transformations for participating families. Your family will have conversations you never anticipated and will leave the program feeling closer and more aligned about your future as a result.The Future Family Enterprise program is led by MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer John Davis, a pioneer in the family enterprise field and a globally recognized authority on family enterprise, family wealth, and the family office. Davis joined MIT Sloan after leading the family enterprise area at Harvard Business School for more than 20 years. He is an award-winning teacher and researcher and is the creator of some of the field’s most impactful conceptual frameworks. Davis is also Chairman of Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, a global advisory and research organization.


Through interactive lecture discussions, case discussions, exercises, exchanges across families, and private discussions within families, you and your family will better understand:

  • How families, family companies, and family enterprises predictably evolve over generations, particularly in later generations, and how they succeed in a disruptive environment
  • How to keep the family on the path of long-term success, strategically growing assets, maintaining family unity, and building family talent to achieve the family’s compelling mission
  • How to articulate your family’s mission and core values—including your social impact mission—and how to strengthen a growing family’s commitment to success
  • How to develop a smart strategy for aligning your family and ownership group, including deciding where the family’s “highest and best use” is within the family enterprise
  • How to manage transitions of leadership, ownership, governance, and wealth creation to the rising generations
  • How to develop the next generation for key roles in and out of the family enterprise, and which roles to delegate to a non-family team
  • How both generations view next generation talent development
  • Strategies for making decisions on portfolio of investments in and out of your family company and family office
  • How to decide among an array of ownership and capital options for your family company and other investments
  • How to govern the family, the ownership group, the family company, and other organizations in the family enterprise

Who should attend

The Future Family Enterprise program is a transformative experience for families that have moved beyond the founder stage to one where siblings or cousins own the family company (or the investments of the family). Some families may have sold their family company and now manage other assets.This program is designed for family teams generally of four or more individuals. No single participants are admitted. Family teams allow participants to have crucial conversations together and collaborate on the long-term planning required at their stage. It also allows each team to take back to their family enterprise systems more of the concepts, practices, and understandings absorbed during the program. The greatest regret we hear from participants is that they wish they had brought more family members to partake in this unique experience together. Participating families come from many countries and are involved in many industries. They typically have complex family enterprise systems: companies, financial assets and perhaps a family office, family philanthropic and community activities, plus a growing and increasingly complex family and ownership group. Each family in this program has achieved admirable success after the founder-generation and aims to continue their high performance as a family for another generation or more.Participants include family members in and out of the family company or family office; owners and non-owners; board members; family council and owner council members; senior and next generation members; and lineal descendants and spouses. Teams can also include senior non-family executives or board members attending with family members. If you want to discuss the right composition for your family team, we are ready to help.


John A. Davis is a Senior Lecturer in the Family Enterprise Executive Programs at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a globally recognized pioneer and authority on issues related to the family enterprise, family wealth, and the family office. Since the 1970s, he has been a leading research...
Jake Cohen is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Law and Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Master’s Programs at the MIT Sloan School of Management. From 2008 to 2011, Cohen was the Dean of the MBA Program at INSEAD, directing strategy and operations for campuses in France, Singapore, and Abu ...
Jason Jay is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan. He teaches courses on leadership, strategy, and innovation for sustainable business. Jason engages students and alumni in hands-on projects with leading companies an...
Jonathan Ruane is a Lecturer in the Global Economics and Management group at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Digital Fellow at MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). His interests are at the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship, strategy and international markets. He also...


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