Judging WADECA Competition @ Newman University

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I had the pleasure of serving as a judge at the WADECA competition, which took place at Newman University. WADECA is the citywide competition of DECA, which is an association of marketing students that compete all the way up to the international level.  I was asked by Jeff Darr, my former entrepreneurship teacher from Northwest High School, pictured here:
Jeff Darr @ WADECA

Dozens of active members of Wichita’s business community participated as part of the role playing portion of the event. During the role play, the students had to pitch marketing ideas, business plans, and management solutions to their superiors (in this case, the judges), and were then scored on the quality and clarity of their ideas, creativity, originality, and communication skills.

WADECA CurveBreak

One of the most interesting things I noticed about how the students performed was that there were essentially two kinds of competitors: Those who had read and followed the instructions given in the scenario, and those who had not.  The students who had read the scenario closely sat down at my table with confidence, notes, and a plan. Those who didn’t, didn’t. It was immediately apparent which category each student fell into. A common mistake was to use one-size-fits-all examples of business leaders and historical figures (Steve Jobs is always a favorite) that don’t fit the situation as well as they could.
And there we have it. Too often in the “real world,” our challenges are simply those of defining and understanding the problem. Arguments result from unclear definitions of key phrases. Those who define and understand before proceeding tend to succeed, and those who don’t, don’t. We assume that understanding the given scenario is the easy part, which is why we so rarely take the time to do it. The digital marketing industry has been overrun with vendors, experts, and gurus who don’t take the time to understand their clients’ individual situations, and point to the same one-size-fits-all “metrics” as evidence of failure and success. They are counting on the fact that you don’t understand your unique business scenario, either.
Breaking the Curve is not about making up your own definitions to words–it is about first understanding your unique situation and then creating your own reality using the resources you have available. Yes, there is a difference.
I’d be happy to talk with you about participating in your next event. Give me a call at 316.530.2512 and let’s get the conversation started.

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