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.”