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Climb Out Of The "We've Always Done It That Way"​ Rut

T. Boone Pickens

Originally published by T. Boone Pickens on LinkedIn: Climb Out Of The "We've Always Done It That Way"​ Rut

Listening to President Trump last night deliver his first joint address to Congress – and his commitment to expanding America’s energy renaissance – reminded me of a story.

I’ve been a member at Augusta National Golf Club since August 1982. At Augusta, the club assigns you a caddy, and that guy will be your caddy as long as you live.

I’ve got a great one, Larry, who is highly skilled and always respectful.

One day as I was playing, I asked Larry, “We’ve got the best golf club in the world. Why do we close it in May for the summer?”

Out of character, Larry looked at me, and I could see in his expression that the man he thought was so smart was not so sharp after all.

“Mr. Pickens, that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

I’ve never stomached that kind of answer from any of my employees, but I didn’t say anything more to Larry on the subject.

I thought about this exchange last night, and the stark contrast in President Trump’s address and the comments just the week before by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters when she threw out some harsh views for the president’s cabinet, calling them “a bunch of scumbags.”

She referred to the president’s supporters as a “Kremlin clan, all of them connected to the oil and gas industry.” The California Democrat was particularly pointed in her criticism of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian oil ties.

Prior to his confirmation, I wrote that Rex Tillerson would make a great Secretary of State. And I think he will.

When is operating successfully in foreign countries, as Secretary Tillerson did when he was CEO of Exxon, a negative? It ought to be a positive.

I’ve been in the oil industry for 60 years as it helped America find great success by producing abundant, cheap oil.

Bringing Tillerson’s global expertise to the Washington mindset is a win for America.

I admire that President Trump is making us try something different. I have always believed that it’s important to show a new look periodically. Predictability can lead to failure. I think we’ve seen that in Washington.

Let’s see where some new approaches take us.