T. Boone Pickens on Attitude, Leadership and Learning From Mistakes

At 83, billionaire T. Boone Pickens could choose to hang up his hat and bask in the spoils of being one of the most profitable oil men in U.S. history. But get to know T. Boone and you’ll discover he has no interest in slowing down. Here are five ways you can follow Mr. Pickens’ entrepreneurial mindset—even if your bottom line doesn’t include drilling for ‘Texas Tea.’

1. Take a Long View. “To make the big money, I’ve found it’s best to take a long-term view, stay focused and not get spooked by the temporary fluctuations in the market. When I have the odds in my favor, I put my money up and keep it up. If the fundamentals change, I get the hell out of there.”

2. Lead by Example. “You don’t run over your personnel, but you don’t pump them up with false praise, either.”

3. Learn From Mistakes. “It’s all right to get your fingers crushed in the door, but don’t let the same door crush them twice.”

4. Make the Call. “Sometimes the window of opportunity is open only briefly. Waiting is not a decision, although many people think it is. Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. You must be willing to fire.”

5. Balance It Out. “Work eight hours and sleep eight hours, and make sure that they are not the same eight hours.”

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