For 40 years, Dennis has helped families overcome personal and organizational challenges to enable successful and fulfilling transfer of businesses, wealth, values, commitments and legacies across generations. As both an organizational consultant and clinical psychologist, he is one of the architects of the field of family enterprise consulting. He works with multi-generational families to develop governance practices and capability of next generation leadership, and to develop the capability of financial organizations and family offices to serve their family clients. He is an active speaker and workshop leader in programs for business families and financial service firms. As a member of Wise Counsel Research Associates, he is conducting a study of long-term families enterprises, resulting in working papers, Good Fortune: Building a Hundred Year Family Enterprise, and Best Practices of Successful, Global, Multi-Generational Family Enterprises. He is now in third phase of that project, interviewing 100 hundred year old global families. He is part of the Polaris team, which is working with the Family Business Network to create a roadmap for family and business sustainability. With his global focus, he has taught at Hult University in Dubai, helped the Pacific Asia chapter of Family Business Network develop a program to empower next generation family members, and is on the Advisory Board of Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Stetson University. He helps financial advisors and wealth managers develop skills to serve the personal needs of their client families. The Values Edge, an acclaimed tool using values cards to create a personal values pyramid, helps many families and organizations explore personal and organizational values. The Family Enterprise Evaluation System family success, has just been released as an on-line tool for families and their advisors. He received his BA in Philosophy, MA in Management and Ph.D. in Sociology from Yale University. For 35 years, Dennis was professor of Organizational Systems and Psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco, where he is now professor emeritus. As a member of the Family Firm Institute since it was founded, he has presented at annual conferences, served on their board, designed and delivered continuing education courses in Family Governance and Family Wealth Advising, written frequently for their journal Family Business Review, and was received the Richard Beckhard Award for his contribution to practice. In 2007 he was named Thinker in Residence for S. Australia, helping the region design a strategic plan for the future of entrepreneurial and family businesses. In 2010 he was a visiting professor at the undergraduate family business program of Stetson University. Dennis has written a trio of books that guide members of family enterprises, including the 2010 book Stewardship of Your Family Enterprise: Developing Responsible Leadership Across Generations, as well as Working with the Ones You Love: Building a Successful Family Business and Working with Family Businesses: A Guide for Professional Advisors. He was the researcher for the JP Morgan study of best practices of multi-generational families. His research on the governance of start-up companies, After the Term Sheet is an important contribution to the field of entrepreneurship. He has been a frequent contributor to periodicals such as Families in Business, Private Wealth, Journal of Wealth Management, and Worth. In 2005 he received the Editor’s Choice Award from the Journal of Financial Planning for his article on family business strategic planning. His work was featured in Inc. magazine, Entrepreneur, Nation’s Business, Time and The Wall Street Journal, and he was profiled in People magazine. During the 1980s Dennis was an architect of the field of organizational transformation and development of change leadership. He wrote a dozen influential management books, including Getting Your Organization to Change, Rekindling Commitment, and Take This Job and Love it! As founder of Changeworks Global, he guided organizations and family businesses to lead long-term change by unleashing the power of their employees. He is the co-creator of The Transition Curve, StressMap, and other tools that support personal and organizational success. For three years, Dennis was co-editor of The Inner Edge, a magazine focused on spirituality in business. He was deputy director for research at the Macarthur Foundation sponsored Healthy Companies Network from 1992-95. As co-founder of the web firm MemeStreams, he pioneered on-line executive development tools. The video Managing People through Change was voted one of the Best Products of 1991 by Human Resource Executive. From Burnout to Balance (retitled and reissued as Self-Renewal), and Healing From Within, were each honored with the Medical Self-Care Book Award. Active as well in non-profit governance, he has served on the boards of the World Business Academy, Saybrook University, and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and as President of the Association of Humanistic Psychology.
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The Mantra of Appreciation
Ifirst learned about Appreciative Inquiry in the late 1980s when David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney developed their model, echoing Maslow’s idea that we look…