Don’t Do Anything About Me Without Me Maximum Mix is Magic

Marge Schiller, PhD
Marge Schiller, PhD Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner Founder, Positive Change Core

“Don’t do Anything About Me Without Me” is one of the two founding principles of the Positive Change Core. Positive Change Core is a virtual community connecting people and programs that promote strengths-based education. The second founding principle is “Maximum Mix is Magic.” When all stakeholders are given voice and vote,  unexpected and often effective strategies emerge.In theory this makes sense to many of us. In practice it is more of a challenge.

Bringing students into the rooms where planning happens is complicated. Classes, curricula, permissions, all make a simple and sensible idea more involved. For 25 years I have been working with education summits. We include students as well as parents, teachers, local businesses, and civic groups in the planning and delivery of large group gatherings. Each and every time we do these summits people will comment on the exceptional kids. We say “those are the students  who were available to participate in the summit.” Children are exceptional. Our intention is to lift representatives of every voice.

Another example of the magic of “maximum mix “is the inclusion of custodians and cafeteria personnel. We all see things from the vantage point of our own experiences. When the experiences mirror the school community the conversations and decisions are of much higher quality.

It is tempting to only include “virtual children” in summit designs:  videos of kids, a performance, anything that acknowledges the existence and importance of students but does not involve real kids, in real time conversation with the other school stakeholders is much easier.

“Don’t do Anything About Me Without Me” is a strategy, a goal and a prescription for effective conversation and decision making in schools. The magic is more likely to happen when there is a “maximum mix” that represents the whole school community. This is what Stan has to offer to the educational community as a whole. Appreciative organizations have been using these strategies for decades. In one month’s time, these exact strategies will be implemented in the first ever World Positive Education Accelerator. Stakeholders, organizations, students, teachers, superintendents, and policy makers from across the globe will come together to accelerate the field of Positive Education, enhancing the wellbeing of all students. Stan and The Four Fantastic Powers embraces “Maximum Mix” and “Don’t Do Anything About Me Without Me” to create intergenerational, appreciative conversations to prompt forward movement and change. #weflourish 

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