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Shown are Wiley and Olivia
Shown are Wiley and Olivia
November 22, 2013 7:00 AM CST

‘Wiley’ leadership with thanks and purpose

Full Contact Project Management


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 so thankful at the moment.

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. (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. My goal in this latest game of life was to play “prevent defense,” and assure that Olivia remained without litter. Kim had assured me that there was “no way” my dog could get pregnant.

But Wiley had a goal: He needed to score.

Wiley doesn’t mind the ole prevent defense. In fact, he rather likes it. Wiley proceeded with his strategy. He had a plan: He would keep on trying until he succeeded.

Wiley employed his stealth strategy, and succeeded in spite of his shortcomings and disadvantages. Much to our surprise, a not-so-pregnant-looking Olivia delivered a few pups one night, two of which survived. Granddaughter Emma named one “Riley,” and my wife, Karen, named the other “Smiley.”

I still am not thrilled with Wiley, but I am thankful that he provided this great example of planning and leadership. Wiley only had himself to lead; kind of an owner-operator. But it still required that he plan, implement, and successfully carry out his mission.

What does all this mean for us? 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 as winning seems just about impossible? I hope not.

Just about 400 years ago, a small group of Pilgrims risked absolutely everything to take advantage of a place where there was no king telling them what to do. And, despite where you might come down politically, it’s still pretty darn good.

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. You’ve gotta score!

Good leaders are driven with purpose. Not simply biologically, as with Wiley, but philosophically, spiritually, economically and politically. We saw this 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 at Thanksgiving, let’s not forget where it is we come from. And, never forget what it took: All gave some. Some gave all.

About the Author

Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at


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