I went to the Dallas 100 awards banquet last night. The Dallas 100 is an annual award for the fastest growing privately held companies that are based in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Enkitec was ranked 42nd in our first year to be eligible. They have it every year at the Morton Meyerson. It’s a beautiful place by the way, with one of the worlds greatest pipe organs.
Ray Hunt was the speaker. He had a couple of insightful things to say (of course I’ll have to paraphrase).
He said the oil business was the only business he was aware of where you could look forward at the first of every year and know that 90% of the decisions you’ll make that year will be wrong. Which means that the other 10% have to make up for all those wrong decisions and still provide a reasonable profit to the business. He said his background in the oil business made him very tolerant of failure and that America in general was very tolerant of failure which he thought was a good thing. He then told a story about one of his managers telling him that his department had not made any mistakes in the previous 12 months. To Ray that meant one of two things (and both were bad). Either the manager had lost complete touch with reality, or his department was not being aggressive enough.
He went on to list his top 5 attributes of successful companies. He said he thought the most important characteristic of a successful company was it’s Culture.
He defined Culture as the combination of the shared values and the shared work ethic of a group of individuals.
Other attributes that made his top 5 list were:
- Adaptibility – the ability to change
- Agility – the ability to move quickly
- Differentiation – the ability to recognize, retain, and enhance that which sets you apart
- Contrarian – the ability to question the accepted practices