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Last Update: Monday October 23, 2017

A dream becomes focused work. That's The American Dream.

Attract A Courageous Team


2:06 | Go to case study guide, transcript, contact info

Fort Worth, Texas:  Bob Simpson and Steve Palko were working for Southland Oil when there was hostile takeover; they were out of a job within 24 hours. They just took what they had learned and started all over again.

At the same time many others were getting out, with a third partner they founded Cross Timbers Oil & Gas in Fort Worth. Visionaries, they teach us all what it means to take calculated risks. Founded in 1986, incorporated in 1990, they floated an IPO in 1993. By their sixth round,  this business had become one of the top ten gas producers in the USA.  Learn how in the beginning, Robert Rubin, then with Goldman and later US Secretary of Treasury, raised their seed money -- $35 million  -- in three hours. Bob and Steve knew that by the time that seed group was ready to harvest (cash-in or get liquid), they would have taken their business into its sixth or seventh round of funding. Learn how their geologists use and develop advanced technologies to determine where to drill for oil (hitting over 95% of the time!).

As they grew, they changed the name to XTO Energy.  Though they grew right out of the ranks of a small business, the spirit of small business still permeated their day-to-day activities. They kept dreaming impossible dreams yet had  methodologies to turn those dreams into multifaceted realities with deep-seated value.

On December 14, 2009, ExxonMobil bought their company for $41 billion dollars. 

It started as Cross Timbers Oil & Gas. It became XTO Energy. Today, it is part of ExxonMobil.

Here is The American Dream come true. When you watch this episode, you'll feel the confidence that only comes from going through a lot of pain and learning deeper lessons about life.   You quickly learn that this American Dream started with a nightmare. More on The American Dream.

Go With Your Strengths

3:04 | Play Now | Steve Palko and his partner Bob Simpson made a perfect pair. Like all partners we have studied, each had their set of strengths which the other partner valued.

Tell Your Story With Passion

3:09 | Play Now | This sculpture, "I'll Be Back" is the image the founders wanted to project at the launch.

Make A Bold Statement

2:00 | Play Now | In the oil business image is important and where you office can communicate volumes.

Use Technology To Reduce Risk

2:15 | Play Now | Keith Hutton explains how XTO targets the precise location for drilling.

Use Other People's Money To Launch And Grow

5:17 | Play Now | CFO Louis Baldwin said they went to Wall Street to find early-stage capital to get them off the ground, then they went public so those equity partners could harvest.

Turn Employees Into Owners

2:00 | Play Now | Employees at XTO Energy are given stock as part of their compensation.

Do What You Know With Whom You Know

1:12 | Play Now | Host Hattie Bryant says that who you know is important when you decide to launch a business.

Think Positive

3:19 | Play Now |

Big things are only accomplished by those who think positive.