基尔在迈阿密郊外经营着一家律师事务所。他曾经收售数家企业，还写过一本书《祖母讲故事：商业多样化寓言》（Tales My Grandmother Told Me: A Business Diversity Fable）。尽管他的商场经历相当丰富，但他还是常常回想起孩提时从祖父母那里学到的经验。小时候，每年暑假他都会去祖父母开的杂货店玩。这家杂货店位于牙买加莫尼格小城的中心，向工人们出售鱼、肉类、大米、糖果、三明治和苏打水。祖母还会卖冰淇淋，甚至在晚上经营一个小酒吧。
雅虎公司（Yahoo）前高管蒂姆•桑德斯现为作家和咨询师。他把祖母比莉在感恩和自信方面的洞见和经验写进了自己的新书《今天我们很富有》（Today We Are Rich）。
宾夕法尼亚大学沃顿商学院（the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School）领导力与变革管理研究中心（the Center for Leadership and Change Management）主任迈克尔•尤西姆表示，高级经理人不会耗费太多时间谈论家人和家族轶事，但家人对他们的影响是巨大的。他说：“我遇到的很多人，他们的家人和先辈为人处世的方式对他们现在的人生观影响非常大，这让我印象颇深。”
Some people turn to a mentor or maybe even a boss for management insights. Others look to Peter Drucker's books for pearls of business wisdom. Atlanta-area attorney A. Wayne Gill counts on the wisdom of his grandmother.
Gill runs a law firm outside Miami; he's bought and sold a few businesses and he is the author of Tales My Grandmother Told Me: A Business Diversity Fable. Despite his considerable business experience, he often recalls lessons he learned while at his grandparents' general store in Jamaica, which he visited in the summers as a child. The store, which was located in the town center in Moneague, Jamaica, sold fish, meat, rice, sugar, sandwiches, and sodas for workers. His grandmother offered ice cream and even ran a small bar in the evenings.
"She was just such a central figure," Gill says. She served as the sales person, and the deal maker, managing figures in her head and creating an ideal business environment.
Gill's grandmother was all about diversification. She bought land and a couple of gas stations. Gill followed her model by moving into public speaking and minority business consulting.
His grandmother, known as Doris (her real name was Irene Macosta) also taught him to deal fairly with vendors and other business people. "My grandmother was already practicing win-win," he says, which to him means being strong in your negotiations but not going overboard. Suppliers always wanted to do business with her, he recalls. Now, when he's negotiating: "If I get a little less, if I make the other guy happier, we can have a long-term deal, and treat each other with trust and respect."
A silent army of grandma disciples?
Gill is far from alone among executives who refer to their grandmothers as leadership guides, whether her name was Estee Lauder or Louisa.
Tim Sanders, a former executive at Yahoo and currently an author and consultant, weaved his grandma Billye's insights and lessons on gratitude and confidence into his latest book, Today We Are Rich.
"She taught me confidence, and with confidence I could do anything at all," says Sanders. "I understand where it started. I'm challenging other gurus and biz authors to 'fess up' on their grandmothers' contributions." Sanders says that he runs into half a dozen people a week who refer to their grandmother as a source of business inspiration.
Executives do not spend much time talking about their family and family histories, but their impact is considerable, says Michael Useem, director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. "I've always been impressed in how many people I encounter -- how much the family, their ancestors did what they did and influenced how they think about life now," he says.
Sometimes it's grandma or grandpa, and other times it's an ancestor going back several generations. When Useem asks people who participate in his leadership programs which leaders they most admire, he often hears Nelson Mandela or PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi or the recently deceased Steve Jobs. Around 10 to 15% refer to their parents, which is an extension of grandparents' influence, Useem argues.
Cultivating a grandmother's business sense
It may seem like a quaint idea in an era of constant change, where we receive a barrage of management insights and ideas via Twitter, blogs, and other sources. Leaders today must understand international finance and world economic crises, changing social media platforms and evolving societal tastes and trends. So how can grandma's ideals or sampler-stitched wisdom really resonate amid such a dense business landscape?