Sat at home on a friday night watching Moneyball, the movie based on the book about American Baseball and the idea of using stats to create a team. (good movie, great book) But this is neither a review or one of those, “this is what I am doing tonight” posts.

It got me thinking about whether the concept stretched to other areas and ultimately into teaching.
The basic premise is that you look at your situation and what your goal is, you then look at how you can fill the needs using the collective skills of what you have.
What skills do you have in an organisation to fill the gaps made by people leaving or people moving up in the organisation?

Is it the case that in schools we look at who is next in line for jobs or do we really look at what they offer to the whole establishment. Do we sometimes look at how someone can do a role or do we look at what they can do additional to the role?
It strikes me in looking around that there are a great many teachers that are doing some fantastic things in their classrooms but they are not seen as leaders because they do not have responsibility. That’s the point though. All teachers have responsibility, to the people we work for, the students.

When looking to appoint a member of staff it is straight forward to look at what you had and then what needs to be replaced. The thing that gets missed in this is that replacing someone will lead to a lack of change. You can teach someone to do the role but you can not teach them passion or the “extra” that they are prepared to bring.

It appears to me that there is an opportunity in this process to make small changes, to really think about what you want to achieve, when someone new takes on a role do they fill in the gap that was left, to fulfil a role that already existed? or can they do that and more? In speaking with a colleague today we discussed personality. Leadership can always be taught and developed, but personality shines through and without it, without a personal touch, it is difficult to get people to follow.

So with the Moneyball approach this is how it might look.

You need a new head of department. Your first thought is probably to who is currently in post that could step up. Possibly based on time served, desire to progress or several other things. Are you looking for the right things. A replacement will come in and do the job, hopefully in a different way that changes an approach and freshens things up, but ultimately its the same thing.

Instead you use the opportunity to look at what you need in your school, what big gaps are there and what could be developed. When you then search for that new member of staff you look for the extra they give, how can you capture their passion to do something and really make an impact. You may employ a head of department that also has a real skill for something that your school is missing. You then fill two roles.

it may already work like this, I hope it does. You can always teach someone the job, but never teach someone the passion.