Ray Hunt runs the Hunt Oil Company. A couple of weeks ago, Hunt delivered a speech to the Texas Energy Council. He talked about economics and the cost of gasoline, predicting that our current high prices are here to stay.
But my interest in his speech has to do with what he said about "the five characteristics that separate great companies from good ones."
1. Great companies develop a strong corporate culture, with shared values and a strong work ethic. "If you have a group of men and women with shared personal values and work ethic, they can do anything," Hunt said.
2. Great companies possess the ability to differentiate themselves from other groups. "If you are like everybody else, that means you're average," Hunt declared.
3. Great companies demonstrate adaptability. Change is expected, never a surprise. The DNA of great teams directs that they will be ready and expect to adapt to ever-changing circumstances and challenges.
4. Great companies adapt with amazing speed. It is no longer enough to be able to change or adapt. It is now necessary to be able to adapt as quickly as possible, and that as a part of normal operating procedures. So much for over valuing the 5-year plan!
5. Great companies are very willing to be contrarian. "If you see the whole industry going in some direction, you will not find us there," Hunt confessed. Hunt expects his employees to make mistakes. In fact, an error-free year likely indicates that a team member was not being aggressive enough. "There is no penalty in our company for a bad idea," Hunt said.
While there is not much connection between the business operations of an oil exploration company now hard at work in Iraq, among other places around the world, and our non-profit, the principles apply. I'm wondering if at some point we would be well-served to have a more in depth conversation with Mr. Hunt.
(The Dallas Morning News, Friday, March 7, 2008, pages 1, 5D)