Learning from the Best

Halbouty Lecturer Pulls Examples from Life Experiences

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Veteran oilman Ray L. Hunt, in starting his talk as this year’s Michel T. Halbouty lecturer, suggested that he had only a few brief prepared remarks and that perhaps he’d be able to field a few questions from the large crowd that gathered for the late afternoon session in San Antonio.

A few questions, indeed.

More than an hour later, when for scheduling purposes the session chair finally had to end the lively Q&A, the packed room emptied with a sense that they had learned a lot – a whole lot – about the business of exploration.

Hunt’s talk was titled “Distinguishing Successful Wildcatters: How Your Company Can Be Among the Best,” and the successful CEO of Hunt Oil Company and other related companies first offered – briefly – five characteristics that he believes define truly outstanding companies, teams, churches and even families:

Corporate culture – “The collection of personal values and a strong work ethic is a phenomenal combination,” he said. Shared values often mean that companies “can overcome anything.”

Ability to differentiate yourself – “Make yourself different,” he advised. “Don’t be like everyone else; that makes you average.”

Adaptability – “Darwin had it right,” he said. “The species that survives is the one that adapts the best to changing circumstances.”

Agility – “How quickly can you adapt?” he asked, reasoning that if you can’t do it fast, “why do it?”

Be contrarian – “When it makes sense to do so,” he added as a qualifier. “See if you can win by doing the opposite of what everyone else thinks.”

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