Go Back

What We Teach

How we teach Win-Win Focus in YE

At Youth Entrepreneurs, the principles that guide behavior are called Foundational Values. These YE values are central to our curriculum and significant in helping our students grow. Our Foundational Values are responsibility, knowledge, passion, sound judgment, be principled, freedom, opportunity and win-win focus. We’re taking a look at each one, diving now into Win-Win Focus.

Win-Win Focus means creating value for yourself and for others. “Cooperation creates real value in society, both for yourself and others,” says Lindsay Downing-Schroeder, the Southern Kansas and Oklahoma Area Director for YE. “It’s a concept students begin learning from day one. They can see how this Foundational Value ties into an activity, game or their life on a daily basis.”

Students begin to grasp Win-Win Focus when it connects to something they understand and transactions they make each day. “Many students purchase items from a vending machine. They understand how they created value with their dollar, and the item they purchased created value because it satisfied a need or a want they had,” Lindsay explains. “Discussing Win-Win Focus on a level that relates to students helps them to see the bigger picture and how it is happening throughout society as well.”

“Win-Win Focus is an important entrepreneurship concept to grasp because we get stuck focusing on what we know. It’s harder to see the big picture when you’re in the grind,” Lindsay says. “So we encourage our students to take a step back and look at who their customer is. What do they value? How do I add value to their life and, in turn, create value for myself and my business?”

Students also explore Win-Win Focus through the Pit game. “Students get to move around and collect a certain number of cards and cash in with them. You’ll see students join together to come up with certain number cards. They’ll work together, cash those cards in and then pay each other. They’re creating win-win for themselves and for other students.”

Lindsay recalls a student who experienced the Win-Win Focus value during Market Day, an activity that combines a micro-loan program with a pop-up market. “He was an active student, but wasn’t really bought in until Market Day,” she remembers. The student prepared homemade tacos to sell. “He brought a grill and actually cooked the meat and warmed the tortillas in front of the customer. At the time, none of the students had done this. He was passionate about cooking and had grown up around cooking.” The student still holds the record for the most Market Day profit at the school: more than $650. 

“After experiencing that win-win for himself and the students at the school who were his customers, his excitement and participation doubled after that point in the semester.” His sister took the class a few years later, and the student even came back to help her on Market Day.

In the Paper Airplanes activity, students try to make as much profit as they can by building and successfully flying paper airplanes the minimum distance. Students experience Win-Win Focus when they and their team work together to create a plan for the planes that will cross the finish line to create the greatest benefit.

As students learn Win-Win Focus, they grow in not only their entrepreneurial understanding, but also their maturity, Lindsay says. “Looking at the bigger picture in life and looking at things on a greater scale, students experience that mindset shift,” she says. “As they apply these values, they understand that their options are limitless. What they can do with their lives is in the palm of their hands, and they can decide how far they want to go.”