Co-Piloting – Luck, Leadership, and Learning That It’s All about Others: Our Story


Jim Haslam, founder of one of the largest gas and convenience store chains, recounts the founding of Pilot and the principles of success that got him there

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Key Takeaways

  1. Never about me. If it were, I would be the ceiling. I always looked to share power and responsibility as early as possible. Gave away incredible responsibility to his kids while they were only in their 20s and 30s
  2. We were lucky to be getting into travel centers and convenience/gas stores just as demand for travel was picking up thanks to the newly built Interstate Highway System
  3. Marathon invested in us early on. This was a fantastic win/win as it helped them expand and it gave us the capital to grow our stores as well
  4. You better know the numbers of your business
  5. If you get relationships right, most everything takes care of itself
  6. If there is a problem in your vicinity, take responsibility
  7. Be an optimist with every fiber of your being. He thought of himself as "encourager in chief"
  8. Life is better when it is lived for others
  9. Some things are better caught than taught
  10. Everyone in the family has a unique and special relationship with Jim
  11. He writes handwritten letters to each of his family members 3 to 5 times a year telling them how proud he is of them and how much he loves them
  12. Although he accomplished so much he was really easy-going and great with people, putting them at ease and easily building a connection with everyone he met
  13. The book ends with each of his kids describing their father. He never missed any of their events although he was traveling like crazy. He was “all in” on their lives and this made all the difference

What I got out of it

  1. Love seeing the humility and simple principles that helped Haslam achieve phenomenal success. Serve others and be others-focused, the importance of timing and relationships, keeping the most important things the most important things.

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