Engaged Ownership: A Guide for Owners of Family Businesses illustrates a straightforward process for aligning family and business decision-making and creating effective governance by developing engagement among owners, board, management, and family.


Developing engagement helps family business owners overcome the challenges inherent in multi-generational family business ownership and governance, such as:

  • How to articulate purpose and vision to drive strategy

  • How to manage the transfer from controlling owner to sibling partnership or cousin consortium with less risk, while inspiring the sense of teamwork necessary to sustain success for future generations

  • How to align a board of directors and owners through shared purpose and vision to create compelling strategic direction

  • How to develop forums such as owners councils and family assemblies to increase family buy-in and reduce conflict.

Engaged Ownership explains these concepts through the case study of the Owen family, four 3rd-generation siblings who have inherited ownership of their family’s business after the unexpected death of their father.


Their story will be familiar to anyone who has worked with family businesses, and it demonstrates how managing and non-managing owners can come together to make decisions about the future of the business and the family’s Core Capital.

The story of the Owen Family over several generations vividly illustrates how engaged owners can make not just a great difference in the success of a company, but add a form of value that cannot be duplicated with good management alone.
— Dennis T Jaffe, PhD, Wise Counsel Research

Engaged Ownership also offers owners and advisors practical skills integral to the family business system:

  • How to enumerate core capital to broaden the family’s opportunity set;

  • How to navigate the interconnected and overlapping roles within a family business—parent, manager, child, managing owner, non-managing owner, sibling, trustee, beneficiary, in-law, employee;

  • How to improve meeting practices to increase efficiency and effectiveness of decision-making;

  • How to effectively allocate decision-making power among ownership, board, management, and family for a given family business;

  • How to develop policies that fit the specific circumstances of a family enterprise.