Is your faculty paranoid or pronoiad?

After recently watching Adam Grant’s fantastic TED talk “Are you a giver or a taker?” I felt the need to write a much overdue ‘thank you’ post to my team of fellow coaches here.

Success is not about competition– it’s about contribution.- Adam Grant

 The phenomenal Keri-Lee forwarded the talk to our group and suggested we use it as a conversation starter for our first meeting back in the new year. That’s (just) one of the wonderful things about working with my team: people give, a lot.

Carsten ten Brink "GIVE"

Carsten ten Brink

Many educators will have experienced working with both paranoid and pronoiad people. Spend 15 minutes in any given staff meeting, and you’ll be able to get a sense for which term applies: do you have passive resistance or engaged constructive conflict? Do people fight back eye-rolls, or are questions received with thoughtful-pauses?  Do we avoid conflict or do we push for greater understanding? Does the meeting need many navigators or does only one person hold the map?

Do we trust one another at the wheel?

kaysha Drive


I am grateful for my colleagues. Every day.

Dave, Ken, Keri-Lee, Andrew and Adrienne have all made me feel comfortable, but not too comfortable.  A good colleague will invite you to rely on them for help, but they will also inspire you to take risks.

Beyond any doubt, each one of them has been what Grant described as a ‘giver.’

if you want to build a culture where givers succeed, is you actually need a culture where help-seeking is the norm; where people ask a lot.-Adam Grant

What’s remarkable about our team dynamics isn’t that we get along, rather it is that we aren’t afraid not to.

What I’ve learned from my team is impossible to distil in a single blog post.  However, in the spirit of a new year, and in the spirit of wanting to pay their collective wisdom forward, here are three trademarks I’d recommend any team replicate:

1. Small talk is huge.

If we don’t bother to have casual conversation, we won’t be able to enjoy ‘casual successes.’  Schools are a blend of the personal and the professional. Carve out space to meet that mix.

2. Go off piste.

If you are a slave to your agenda, you’ll miss out on a lot of magic.  Great leadership knows where the line is, and where to readjust boundaries as needed.

3. Be aware of your collective media diet.

Share links, books, movies, tools.  These things aren’t talking points, they are thinking pivots, and every organization regardless of size or scope needs to have thinking pivots posted from a wide variety of stake-holders.

3.2: Don’t miss an opportunity to express your gratitude.

See above.

Drew Streib Team

Drew Streib




Flickr images featured in this post:

Carsten ten Brink