Throughout your DECA career, you’ll wear the blazer, throw up a DECA diamond symbol and add lots of blue to your wardrobe. You will also undoubtedly hear DECA’s core values and mission statement more times than you can count. But have you ever stopped to think about what they really mean?
Here’s a quick definition for each of DECA’s values:
Competence is having the necessary ability, knowledge or skill to do something successfully. When you’re competent, you’re prepared to take on any situation.
Innovation means being creative and implementing ideas for positive change. It could come in the form of a new product, service, idea or process.
Integrity is consistently living by strong moral and ethical principles. Individuals with integrity stand up for what they believe—no matter what.
Teamwork is collaborating with a group of people to achieve a common goal. The best teams run like a “well-oiled machine” where everyone contributes.
Alone, these words each hold importance, but together, they form our core values which shape the culture of DECA and guide our overall priorities and standards. An organization’s core values should reflect the heart of an organization. They create purpose, improve cohesion and provide a compass for decision-making.
DECA’s Mission Statement
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.
An organization’s mission statement explains what the organization does, who it serves and what differentiates it from competitors. In short, it should answer the question "Why do we exist?"
So, what does it mean to be an emerging leader? While everyone has their own leadership philosophy, Emerging leaders are those who are willing to step out of their comfort zones and who take initiative to make the world a better place.
Being a #NextLevel emerging leader means being academically prepared and striving to be an ambitious student—both inside and outside of the classroom. Emerging leaders are community-oriented, give back to their communities and help others in need. They embody DECA’s core value of integrity and are professionally responsible; leading with ethics, integrity and high standards. And through their DECA career, they become experienced leaders ready to take on the challenges presented by college, their careers and society.
How can you apply DECA’s values and mission statement to your leadership journey?
Now that we have explored the meaning behind these key components of our organization, you’re ready to take advantage of every opportunity to grow as an emerging leader.
1. Visit deca.org/brand to learn more about DECA’s brand image.
With a nearly 75-year history, DECA has impacted the lives of more than ten million students, educators, school administrators and business professionals. Knowing what we stand for allows us all to speak as one.
2. Apply your leadership skills to the real world.
While obtaining new knowledge is important, it takes more than just learning to be a true leader. Apply the skills gained and lessons learned through DECA in chapter projects, schoolwork, internships and jobs and in other areas of life. You have the power to make a real impact and become a #NextLevel leader.
3. Share your skills with your chapter, association and community.
The best leaders strive for the growth of their entire team, and not just themselves. Share what you’ve learned with your chapter and community. There’s no better way to give back than by multiplying your leadership impact through others. We are strongest when we work together.
As in any successful organization, empowering yourself and your fellow chapter members begins with establishing unwavering core values and crafting a compelling mission statement. Developing your brand with these fundamental elements creates unity, direction and loyalty. Now that you have a deeper understanding of DECA beyond the diamond, it’s time to become a #NextLevel leader!