The following piece was inspired by a conversation I had with Doug Walker, Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications at Washington Adventist University. We were discussing the challenges a smaller institution faces especially in the increasingly competitive world of higher education and what his thoughts were on how they move forward. He put it in such compelling context, I asked him if I could share it with our friends. So, here it is in his own words. Enjoy.
As one school year or fiscal year draws to a close, it’s not too early to start planning for the next. I lead marketing at a small university facing some big competition. See below for the four lessons from the story of David and Goliath I’m thinking about.
Knowledge is Power
David was in the right place at the right time because his father sent him on an errand to deliver a care package to his older brothers and their commanding officer. Having left the food with the quartermaster, he wandered down to the front to pick up the latest buzz.
It’s always good to keep up with the state of play in your industry or market.
You Do You
After accepting Goliath’s challenge to single combat, King Saul offered David his own tunic and armor, which David dutifully donned. After walking around in it a bit, he took it off. It was too big, and he was unaccustomed to it.
Be yourself. Find your niche. As Simon Sinek stresses, “Start with Why.” Be very clear about why you do what you do.
As he descended into the Valley of Elah with slingshot in hand, David stopped at the stream, and selected five smooth stones.
If you’re going to war, go armed and dangerous. That might mean brushing up on a subject you should know, but could know better. It could mean doing more research for an upcoming negotiation. It may be time for that market research you’ve been putting off.
Finally, at the moment of truth, “As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.” 1 Sam. 17:48 (NIV)
This is no time to shrink back. Meet your challenges head-on!
Doug Walker is Vice President for Integrated Marketing and Communication at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, MD.