The Leadership Plan: Boone Pickens at TEDxOStateU

The Leadership Plan: Boone Pickens at TEDxOStateU


Translator: Bob Prottas
Reviewer: Alin Andrei All of you know me and I know you. And so this is kind of just
a conversation with the crowd. But it was when I was 84 years old I realized that half my life was over. (Laughter) Now I knew that I had to continue. I couldn’t retire.
That wasn’t going to happen. They told me
at South Western Medical, they said, “Boone, we have good news
for you and bad news.” And I said, “OK, good news first.” They said,
“You’re going to live to be 114.” Bad news,
“You will not be able to hear or see.” (Laughter) I’m at the point now
where I can’t hear or see. So anyway, I’m going to talk to you
about leadership today. But it was 16 years ago, I had a guy say to me,
he was a writer, and he said, “I don’t understand
why you don’t step back and let somebody have your place?” And I thought this was a
strange question because, you know, you don’t just step back,
somebody takes your place. In some situations, but not in mine, I mean I was an entrepreneur out there. There wasn’t anybody standing behind me. But I realized that he thought
there was a limited opportunity at what I call the feeding trough. And I said the feeding
trough in America is infinite. It’s unlimited. It’s as long as you want to make it. It’s as big as you want to make it. You just have to, if you
want to get to the feeding trough, you just have to get up
there and get after it. I’m going to talk to you
about some of those points that — You know I had the Pickens Plan. And now I have the
Pickens Leadership Plan. You all are not going to have
to hear the whole Pickens Plan. It’ll be the Leadership Plan
I’ll talk about today. You’re going to have to have a good
work ethic if you going to be successful. And it’s so easy, I think, in this state, Oklahoma. Grow up in a small town
like I did, Holdenville, and a work ethic it’s there. And listen, I check on some of you at different companies where I know OSU graduates are and I ask, “What kind of work ethic
do our people have?” They always say “It’s the best!” It is. We’re all lucky.
We’re lucky to be from Oklahoma. All you from Oklahoma City
and Tulsa, too bad. It would have been better
if you’d have been from a small town. But you came from a big town. But anyway, I always say, “Work 8 hours. Sleep 8 hours. Be sure they’re not the same 8 hours.” (Laughter) You have to have a plan in life. It’s absolutely necessary. I got my plan at
Oklahoma State in February 1949. I did not have a plan up to that point. Sure, I was going to school every year, and I was, you know, making
the grades and moving along. Always had a job after I was 12 years old. I was advancing but with no plan. My Dad, I was initiated in the SAE, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, house over on 3rd Street, and my dad came and he too was an SAE from Tennessee. And he pinned me with his badge. It was a really very sweet ceremony. And now, unusual for most boys, but now my dad was not
only my dad, he was my brother. (Laughter) And everything went slick for the day until we walked out on the lawn and he’s now getting
ready to tell me good bye. And he said,
“You know, son, your mother and I –” and when he brought her into
the conversation it was serious. And he said,
“Your mother and I don’t think you’re on the same plan to graduate
that we’re on for you.” (Laughter) And I didn’t say anything,
but nod or shake my head yes or no. And he said,
“That plan is for you to get out of here, OSU in June of ’51.” And I wasn’t on that plan. And he proceeded to tell me that — he said, “You need to get out of school June of ’51.” He said, “Son, you’ve never had a plan” and then he said, “A fool with a plan
can beat a genius with no plan.” And I was listening,
he paused, and he said, “Your mother and I are afraid
we have a fool with no plan.” (Laughter) That was getting serious. And I still had no response
other than say, “You’re right, I’m sure.” And he said, “You need to get
in Geology, or Engineering, and get the hell out of school.” And he said, “Get a plan, son!” And he kind of slapped me on the shoulder and said “I love you.” Got in his car and drove off. I’m telling you, that was on Sunday. And Monday or Tuesday I got an appointment with Dr. Monett, Dean of Geology School,
where I had 8 hours at that point. I went over and he looked
at everything and said, You know, Pickens,
he said, “if you can eat –” geologists will always figure with you, and try to work out a deal. That’s interesting that Brian
was a geologist, class of ’84 and I got out in ’51. I’ve already tipped my hand. I made it June of ’51. But Dr. Monett said,
“Two eighteens, a nineteen and a summer school.” “By golly” he said,
“you’ll be out of here in June of ’51.” And I said,
“Dr. Monett, I now have a plan.” I said, “Sign me up, I’m on board.
I was. I got out. Everything worked perfect.” And then interestingly,
Brian’s from Bartlesville. My first job was in Bartlesville. I went to work for Phillips. And my dad was there
at graduation, he said, “Son, I have one more thing for you.” and I thought he was going
to give me some money. (Laughter) And I said, “Yeah, Dad, what is it?” and he said “Good Luck.” (Laughter) And I had good luck. OK, move along. That when you’ve got a plan
you’re going to be hunting for something. You’re hunting, meaning you’re
going to try to accomplish something. In the oil business we’re always
looking for elephants if we can. But small oil fields will
satisfy us from time to time. But we love to have a big one. So if you’re looking for elephants,
if your plan is to look for something big look at big things. And don’t be distracted
by a rabbit running across the trail. Just stay on the plan and continue
to look for big things and big things will happen. The one that I gave Mike Holder years ago, and some of his golfers
have said this to me, said, “I remember coach Holder
said that you said and they’ve told me that
it served them well.” But my Dad at this point in time
thought I took advice from people that were not very smart, I was wasting my time to listen to them. And so he said, “There are 3 things, son, when you start taking advice from somebody
that you want to focus on. One, are they smart? If they’re not smart,
well, don’t waste your time. You don’t want to pay attention to them. Two, do they have a conflict of interest? And three, do they love me?” And I have used that
and it’s served me very well. I think Bob Tway was one who said to me
that he had used that also. I got an opportunity
one time to present something and I took too long to present and consequently
my whole presentation was a flop. I was prepared to talk for ten minutes
and I got three. And let me just tell you,
always be prepared because young people do not
get to talk ten minutes anywhere unless it’s to their wife. (Laughter) And I blew it. Now after that I realized
that I should be able to present anything, any idea I had. Now, on questions you’re allowed
to go longer of course. But, if all I’m going to get
is three minutes, I can tell you what I’m selling. And I can tell you how to make a purchase. And I can tell you
how it will work for you, and will be a good idea. OK, three minutes to present. One here is that I’ve seen managers, decision makers
get themselves in a spot where they can’t make a decision. They’re afraid to make a decision. Or somehow they
haven’t understood the question and feel uncomfortable making a decision. Once the presentation’s been made, the presentation is complete,
it’s on the table you’re the decision-maker
for the people that have prepared you to make the decision
for the people around you, your team, it is required for the decision-maker
to make a decision. That’s it! You can’t, and I call it
“Ready, aim, aim, aim, aim.” They can’t ever pull the trigger. (Laughter) Decision-makers have to pull the trigger. OK, this is one I love and I am kind of — I may be one of a few,
but not one of a great number and that is I am a change advocate. I look for change. I always believe change will get you
something better than what you have. It may not be perfect, but you will move in a direction
that will be successful for you. And I have, if you go
back in my work history everything I’ve always thought, what we’re doing can be improved upon. Which means change. Now when you get into big change
like I did back in the 80’s and 90’s where I was going to change
corporate America, that causes a lot
of problems for some people. (Laughter) But the change worked. I mean today, change I wanted
in the 80’s and 90’s is now acceptable. Either you produce or move along. They’ll get somebody else
to play the position for you. But back in the 80’s and 90’s,
it was real hard to make any of those changes. So the older people
generally do not like change. So I’m peculiar to 84 year olds. Young people like you,
you want change because you think change might get
old people like me out. (Laughter) And you move up. And so anyway change, I think, is good. Here, I talk about cheating
and temptation. Cheating is unacceptable, so it
shouldn’t require over 30 seconds. And I’m running out of time.
So I’ll make it 15 seconds. Cheating’s out. There’s no pleasure
in winning anything by cheating. Temptation I might spend 45 seconds on. But I can’t handle temptation
any better than anybody else can. So way back when I decided
this could be a problem for me, I just didn’t go where I was tempted. Just don’t fool with the deal. So my plan was go from the office
when I get through with work and go home. There were no stops on the way. I didn’t stop to have a beer
with anybody or anything else. If I wanted to talk to them
I’d talk to them at the office, on the telephone, or whatever. I didn’t need to go
to the bar to be tempted. So I wasn’t and I didn’t go
and it served me very well. Patience always has been a problem for me. I have been impatient. I wanted things to happen quicker
than it was even realistic to do that. As I’ve gotten older
I’m much more patient. I still want things to happen, but I do a better job of planning and then seeing it through. But realizing it can’t happen tomorrow. And I used to play cards with the guys. The best gin rummy player I’ve ever seen. He could play the big time. And he would sit
and you’d stand behind him and watch him throw his cards
and make his decision. And somebody would say, “Ed, play up.” And he’d always turn around and say, “Don’t rush the monkey.
You’ll see a better show.” (Laughter) Where that comes from is an organ grinder
with a monkey that dances, and the audience would say something
and he’d say, “Don’t rush my monkey.
You’ll see a better show.” (Laughter) This is a big deal right here. You see what I’ve got, don’t you? That’s a Big 12 Championship trophy. (Applause) You know we’ve only won that once. (Laughter) That’s a football championship,
that’s what it is. But I’ve had my picture made
a hundred times with the trophy. (Laughter) I know we haven’t won it a hundred times, but I do enjoy the deal. That’s another one where the part
about my grandmother told me, she said, “Sonny, don’t ever
forget where you came from. And always be generous.” And I have remembered that. I’m from Holdenville,
went to Oklahoma State. I have been generous. I’ve been wealthy. I’ve had the money to give.
And I’ve enjoyed giving it. OK now, you’re going to get out of here and you too, I hope,
will feel this experience was — you may not heist the football trophy, maybe that’s special to me, but it was pretty expensive. (Laughter) (Applause) I did get my money’s worth, and let me tell you, in conclusion, that if you want your name
on that football stadium over there, I’ll tell you how you can do it. Just give more money than I did. (Laughter) They’ll take my name off the stadium. Thank you. (Applause)

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  1. Some good advice in here and delivered in an engaging way, so 16 minutes worth spending. Alot of this is common sense, but it's amazing how much common sense we don't put into practice on an on going basis.

  2. Have a plan & work the plan working through all adversity that will come! Remember the plan! #Leadership #GodHasAPlan4All walkintheway

  3. yes mam. penny stocks trading needs good patience and advice from experienced professionals. be mature and do this, I heard that there is a well-known professionals team attracting lots of people who want to commence investing in stocks. have a try now here >>> bit.ly/13jeudJ?=efrhlw

  4. great common sense leadership from Boone…Appreciate his points on work ethic that seems to be disappearing at times from our society. What does everyone else think?

  5. Boonism #4……As my father used to say…"There are three reasons we can't do it…First, we don't have the money and it doesn't make a damn about the other two.." I've watched, listened and read ll of Boone's work since I was in School. I bought an obscure video tape off eBay called "Ethics in America – Anatomy of a Corporate Take Over" from around 1985. If you can find that video buy it, it shows a young cool calm slinder dapper T. Boone Pickens at a round table with others like Sir James Goldsmith and is the only video I've been able to find of Boone from his rise to stardom and a time when he ruled the Corporate landscape. I think If I asked Boone a simple question about weather he'd wanted to be Loved or Feared in business, I think he's say, "Doug, you love me cause you're scared of me" and I would be alright with that answer.

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