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Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Attract A Courageous Team

Bob Simpson and his partner were thrown out of a company they had worked to grow.  They took what they had learned and today they are worth millions. More...

Key Question:


Fail a few times.  Failure teaches and builds character and that's what happened here.  Bob and Steve were winners who were turned into losers by the actions of others.  This experience toughened them and made them afraid of nothing.

To recruit talent, Bob and Steve offered a deal that only the guys with courage would take. This was because they had no paychecks to offer. People had to bet on the come or they would not have been able to be part of XTO Energy / Crosstimbers.

Q: Do people with courage get more done that people without courage?

A: Without question. People with courage act now and ask later. While they make a bunch of mistakes, they will also hit some homeruns and that's what this company needed at the beginning. They were not reckless as they had a strategy but the entire team was fired up to build something and to get rich individually and at the same time have fun being with smart, agressive people. We are happy to report today that their dreams have come true.

The reason that NO government agency works very well is that they are full of scared, nervous people who are waiting to be told what to do. And even when they are told what to do they get away with not doing it. Granted, there are some jobs that need a person who is careful and cautious but they are not needed in the startup of a venture that wants to grow and grow fast.

Questions for this clip: 1 | 2

Think about it

Where can you go to find some courageous people and what would you have to do to get them to come to work for you?

Clip from: XTO Energy (aka Cross Timbers)

"I'll be back."

Fort Worth:  Remember when oil was $9 per barrel?  Bob Simpson and Steve Palko do.  They founded Cross Timbers Oil & Gas in Fort Worth at the same time others were getting out of the business. These two visionaries with a long range plan  teach us all what it means to take calculated risks.

Palko was the  VP of Engineering for Southland when there was a hostile take over of the company.  As a reminder to everyone in their newly-formed venture, one of the first things he did was to buy the "I'll be back" bronze (above).   And, surely, they did come back with a vengeance!

Today, know as XTO Energy, the business has quickly grown out of the ranks of a small business, but we believe the spirit of small business will permeate this business forever.  These people dream the impossible dreams then turn them into multi-faceted realities with deep-seated values.

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XTO Energy, Inc.

Gary Simpson, Senior Vice President

810 Houston St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102-6298

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
energy, oil and gas

Year Founded: 1986

Attract A Courageous Team

In the Studio

HATTIE: Hi. I'm Hattie Bryant. If you want to understand how businesses are built and how they grow, stay with us for the next 30 minutes. You'll learn about business and the people who build them. These people are heroes because they are courageous, creative, self-reliant and strong.

On television, you see many celebrities, but don't confuse celebrity with heroism. In fact, most heroes will never be celebrities and most celebrities will never be heroes.

We'll show you what true heroism is.

It's going where others have never gone. It's overcoming obstacles. It's living with ambiguity. It's tapping into inner strength. It's believing you are capable of making good happen for yourself and others.

Steve Palko and Bob Simpson are new American heroes. Living on the edge of the West, they have grown up admiring the cowboy and the pioneer. They are like those who first settled here: independent and brave.

The history of oil is like the history of the frontier; it is written by pioneers who love open spaces, who value independence, and who are optimistic and willing to take risks. Like the roughnecks they employ, Steve Palko and Bob Simpson love the stuff of which the oil and gas business is made. In the tradition of the wildcatters, but with a unique strategy and discovery techniques not available in the early days of oil exploration, they are growing a business. The two formed Cross Timbers oil in 1986 with eight employees who believed in the future enough to work for almost nothing. They changed the company name to XTO Energy in 2001 and by 2003 they had over 900 employees.

XTO Energy, once Cross Timbers Oil Company, is beating the odds.


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