‘Wiley’ Leadership --with Thanks & Purpose--

November 6, 2013
Wiley and Olivia
Wiley and Olivia

Leading Your Team in 2013

‘Wiley’ Leadership
--with Thanks & Purpose--

by “Coach Gary” Micheloni

This November I’m thankful for a lot of things, particularly so as the Thanksgiving season approaches. But a recent, ‘blessed’, occasion has me not very thankful at the moment. Let me explain.

My beautiful golden retriever, Olivia, came ‘into heat’ a couple of months back. I wasn’t too concerned about it because my Great Pyrenees, ‘Kingsley the marketing dog’, had been neutered, so we didn’t have much concern there. (Google that phrase to see Kingsley!) But there was a wild card: Wiley!

We were dog-sitting Wiley, the un-fixed pug, for our daughter, Kim. For some mysterious reason, she just loves pugs! Darned if I can figure out why. Far as I’m concerned, I have two real dogs. I just like big dogs!

My goal in this latest game of life was to play ‘prevent defense’, and make sure that Olivia remained without litter. The game only lasts a couple of weeks, and I’m pretty smart, so that was my plan. Plus, Kim assured me that there was ‘no way!’ Logically, you know, the plumbing appears to not even be connectible!

But Wiley had a goal. He needed to score.

Wiley doesn’t mind the ol’ prevent defense. In fact, he rather likes it. I suspect he’s watched enough football games over the years to watch otherwise-good teams snatch defeat from the very jaws of victory! Playing not-to-lose. Hold the lead. Run out the clock.

Wiley proceeded with his strategy. His pride demanded that he give it his best ‘shot’, shall we say? He was determined to not just be standing there, holding the ball, so to speak, as time ran out.

Wiley had a goal; he had a mission; and he had a plan: he would keep on trying until he succeeded. Fortunately for me, I did not witness the deed, so I do not know if Olivia cooperated willingly, or if nature simply took over, or his persistence wore her down, or he managed to create some kind of a mini-stepladder, or…did he realize that, at some point, her guard would be let down, she might become tired, and would need sleep? He had Plan B, Plan C, and so on. Probably up to Plan Z. After all, he was on a mission.

Wiley employed his stealth strategy, and succeeded in spite of his short-comings and disadvantages: much to our surprise, a not-looking-too-pregnant Olivia delivered a few pups one night, two of which survived. Granddaughter Emma named one ‘Riley’, and my wife, Karen named the other ‘Smiley’. Wiley, Riley & Smiley—good grief!

I’m still not thrilled with Wiley, but I do appreciate his ability to follow his dreams and achieve his goal. I suppose, in many ways, when you think about everything, this is the equivalent of the Super Bowl for Wiley!

However, I am thankful that he provided this great example of planning and leadership. Now…Wiley only had himself to lead. Kind of an owner-operator. But it still required that he plan and implement, and successfully carry out his mission.

It can truly be said: in the Pug Nation, Wiley is now a revered leader: much to my chagrin!

What’s all of this mean for us, today? Well, maybe it’s time to re-examine our own plans. Do we still have operational plans for victory? Do we need to amend them in some way? Or, have we decided that it is now time to concede, that winning seems just about impossible? Hope not.

If nothing else, Wiley’s accomplishment should remind us that, in this country, in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, nothing should be seen as impossible. People outside of our country see the opportunities that we sometimes take for granted. They want a shot at it.

Just about 400 years ago, now, a very small group of Pilgrims risked absolutely everything to take advantage of a place where there was no king telling them what to do and deciding their every move. No king—wow! Never really been tried before.

And despite where you might come down politically, in terms of today’s climate in the country, it’s still pretty darn good. Personally, I know it’s screwed up, but worth fighting for, and would never trade it away. And that’s probably you, too.

Can I throw one more idea into the mix? A really great book I read a few years ago is ‘The Purpose Driven Life’, by Rick Warren. Forgetting for a moment any of the religious connections he might be making in the book, he does come to this conclusion: You were created for a purpose. You don’t just get to sit. Play ‘prevent defense’. You gotta score!

Your right to be in business, to choose whom you would contract with, to own property, how you would provide for your family and care for your community: all of it was bought at a price. Millions of Americans shed blood and gave lives to ensure these privileges for you. You have purpose.

A famous saying you’ve often heard is that ‘Freedom isn’t free.’ It was bought and paid for by those who came before you. Having a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution and a Bill of Rights brings with them responsibilities for all of us.

One of my coaches put it this way: “Do your best to be your best.” This should remind us all that there is no greater love than this: that one would lay down his life for another. You see, leadership—great leadership—is always on display.

One of the terrific things in our all being affiliated with Ride Magazine is we realize that their leadership is truly—always--on display. It is impossible to read through this very magazine and not realize that! This is a great time to thank them for just being there, isn’t it? Send them a card!

Same thing is true with your customers—particularly the long-time ones. Here’s a winner of an idea for you: send out Thanksgiving cards, this month, thanking everyone for their help and their business relationship with you. Do it now, and it’ll stand out.

You know, good leaders are driven with purpose. Not simply biologically, as with Wiley, but philosophically, spiritually, economically and politically, as we saw with our country’s founders, and the generations of citizens who, literally, followed their lead.

With this in mind, as we watch football, eat turkey, enjoy our family—even play with the puppies—let’s not forget where it is we come from, that you were created for a purpose, and bought at a great price. Never forget what it took: All gave some. Some gave all.

Let’s be especially thankful for that gift. Happy Thanksgiving!

‘Coach Gary’

Coach Gary’s Corner: What’s your plan for freedom in 2014…and beyond? Coaching will help you get there in less time, and with more success. Ask Coach Gary to speak for your group, association or convention, or even to coach your company? You can at least ask! Coach Gary’s first book, on project management & leadership, “Get Paid for a Change!” is available at His columns have now appeared in over two million print magazines.

Gary Micheloni is currently Director of Marketing for United Infrared as well as for, and also a speaker, author, consultant…and a business development coach. Contact him thru
Copyright 2013 Gary Micheloni