Ray Hunt on Friday laid out the five principles he believes separates a really great company from one that is “merely good.”
Hunt, chairman, president and CEO of Dallas-based Hunt Consolidated Inc., a leader in the petroleum industry, was the guest speaker at the 79th Texas Rose Festival Men's Luncheon.
More than 450 tickets were sold to the sold-out event at Villa di Felicita, event chairwoman Jane Coker said.
Hunt said his five principles can apply not only to businesses, but also athletic teams, churches, hospitals, nonprofit organizations or any group of people working together toward a common goal. He said every aspect of life is governed by a relatively small number of principles. A principle is something that never changes — it was valid 200 years ago, is valid today and will be 200 years from now, he added.
The first, and most important, principle is corporate culture, which Hunt said is made of a shared value system and a work ethic. If a company has a critical mass of people with shared values and work ethic, those people can do anything, he said.
The second principle is the “ability to differentiate yourself. … How you emphasize and maximize the things about you that are good and minimize what is not good,” he said. Being like everyone else makes someone average, and they can only hope for average results. “Differentiation is huge,” he said.
“The willingness to be contrarian when it makes sense to be contrarian,” Hunt said was the final principle. “I think the contrarian is going to be rewarded much more in the future than in the past because of communication technology.”
Hunt said if his company identifies a consensus or herd mentality on something, they will look to see if a credible case can be made for going the other way.
Hunt said the most important principle is the corporate culture because the right group of people will come up with the four other principles. But only having the other four can result in a “screwed up” corporate culture.
His father is the late H.L. Hunt, a prospector who discovered the Daisy Bradford well, which essentially was the discovery of the East Texas Oil Field.
In October 1930, H.L. Hunt and wildcatter Columbus Marion Dad Joiner drilled on the Daisy Bradford Farm on Texas Highway 64 East, in Rusk County. The well was the discovery of the East Texas Oil Field. Called the Texas Woodbine Oil Field, it is the largest oil reserve ever found in North America, according to earlier reports.
Hunt has been working in the family oil business since 1958, when he labored in the oilfields during the summer. In 1965, he earned a degree in economics from Southern Methodist University.
Hunt was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board in Washington, D.C. He also was appointed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He currently is a member and past chairman of the National Petroleum Council, an industry advisory organization to the secretary of energy.
Within the oil and gas industry, Hunt is on the board of directors of American Petroleum Institute. He has been president of Dallas Petroleum Club and Dallas Wildcat Committee. His numerous honors include the American Petroleum Institute Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Texas Energy Council.
He recalled when he was in his mid to late 20s and his father denied being a risk taker after someone told him he might be one of the world's greatest. “I've never taken a risk but that if everything went wrong, I couldn't keep right on going,” Hunt said his father told him.
Hunt said he believes in diversification in business and surrounding himself with people who are much better than he is at their specific disciplines.
“The oil and gas industry I think right now has a phenomenal future,” Hunt said, citing all of the innovative technology the industry has seen in the last few years.
When asked his view on the United States one day becoming energy independent from foreign oil, Hunt said he believed the U.S. would never truly be independent. But because of new technology, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” technologies, the country will have the ability to produce more oil and gas than anyone could have imagined.
He said he thinks the U.S. will have a much higher capability of producing energy then ever thought before, which will result in many more options. Although the country will never be energy independent, it will never again be energy dependent, he said.