Strategy guide:
Capacity and resources

A few notes before getting started

Your team’s structure
This document is intended to be used by teams working to design and implement collective leadership. It is imperative that the team model collective leadership during the design and implementation process. We suggest forming a leadership team of educators to work through the big questions and important tasks below. The team should be comprised of educators in various roles with diverse perspectives. The group must be transparent and regularly consider ways to scale collective leadership beyond the leadership team and include an increasing number of people in the process. 

The framework’s structure
The framework is divided into three parts: Understanding why, Designing how, and Implementing the plan. Each part has two areas of focus: “Big questions” and “Important tasks.” Answering the “Big questions” will involve intense study and open discussion. We recommend that you or your team come to decision points on each big question before moving to “Important tasks.” You can download these resources by clicking on the button below each part of the strategy framework. Scroll further to access additional background resources and research to support your work.

Resources and guides
The “Big questions” and “Important tasks” include valuable resources or guides. We have annotated these resources and guides to save you time selecting the best information for your context. Remember, these resources are intended as a starting point. Part of the process will be adaptation to meet your local needs, context, and goals.

Strategy Guide

1. Understanding your team’s why


Without sufficient capacity and resources, any change effort is much less likely to be successful. It is absolutely imperative that educators be provided the tools, skills, and support via resources to implement collective leadership. Long-standing hierarchical structures are embedded in our understanding of how schools operate. When asked to operate differently, educators must be provided a different set of tools and must be supported in learning how to use them. Just as a mechanic who used to be a truck driver needs new tools and skills for a different job, educators also need new tools and skills to do school differently. They need the time, space, opportunity, and training to know how to operate differently.


Goal: Establish a theory of action

What do you need to learn from staff at your school about the capacity and resources needed to implement collective leadership? What questions do you have about how capacity and resources for collective leadership look? How will answers to those questions help you create a plan for providing what educators need to be successful?


Big questions
  • Think of a time when your team (or you) had the capacity and resources that you needed to do something well.
    • What skills and capacities did your team need to be able to implement something new?
    • What resources did you need?
    • What capacities and resources did your team think you needed at the beginning but weren’t actually necessary?
    • What guardrails and/or safety nets were in place?
    • To what degree do the current capacities and resources at your school align with what was described above?
  • What strengths and/or assets emerged from the questions above?
  • What opportunities for growth or areas of need emerged from the responses to question #1?
  • How might building capacity and providing resources help your efforts to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion?
  • What is one actionable next step that your school can take to move towards or increase your school’s capacity and resources for collective leadership?
  • What is your theory of action for how your team can create or strengthen capacity and resources for collective leadership?

Important Tasks

Review the information and discussion questions in this document to see and consider how to build leadership capacity among the staff at your school. Identify ideas from the discussion guide that your team may want to adopt or adapt to your context. Discuss additional opportunities that currently exist to build capacity at your school.

Identify the currently existing capacity and resources available to implement collective leadership. Discuss ways that your team might leverage current capacity and resources. Identify opportunities to restructure or redesign the ways that capacity and resources are currently being used.

Determine what additional capacity and resources your team may need to begin implementing collective leadership. Identify potential sources and opportunities for securing additional resources and building additional capacity for collective leadership implementation.

Develop your team’s theory of action about how to move forward from where you are to where you would like to be relative to building capacity and providing resources.



Connect and collaborate
Teams frequently struggle with developing a theory of action. Remember to articulate your goal and identify the problem of practice before developing the theory of action.

Need help crafting a theory of action?


2. Designing your team’s how


Are you ready to create a plan for how your team will build capacity and provide resources for collective leadership? Remember that having sufficient capacity and resources will help your team avoid frustration.


Goal: Prepare to lead action

Are you ready to create a plan for how your team will increase capacity and provide resources for collective leadership? Remember that building capacity and providing adequate resources will help your team avoid frustration.

What will you take on first? Who should be involved? What is the timeline?  How will you measure success?


Big Questions
  • What does the information collected thus far tell your team about the best next step toward increasing capacity and resources for collective leadership?
  • How will your team go about building capacity and securing resources for collective leadership?
  • What are the minimum levels of capacity and resources needed to get started? How would ideal levels look?
  • What has already been tried? What was learned from that effort?
  • Who else needs to be involved?
  • How will your team know when you have made progress?

Important Tasks

Complete the Purpose Map to set the vision, identify the people who should be involved, and create the initial action plan for testing your team’s idea(s). For ideas about how to design and implement a pilot, check out the structure and resources in this micro-credential or contact CTQ.

Complete and use an action timeline tool like the one below to clearly articulate what will get done by whom and how the team will know that you have been successful.

Is your team interested in support for using these tools? Do you need hard copies? We can also customize the tools for your school or district.




3. Implementing your team’s plan


Now that the team has articulated the why and how for building capacity and securing resources, it is time to implement your team’s plan. 

What does your team need to do to implement and learn from the plan?

The implementation phase of the work is about much more than carrying out the components of your team’s plan. In order to ascertain the effectiveness of the plan, data must be collected for evaluation. It’s helpful to remind yourself of your original goals as you prepare to gather the feedback needed.


Goal: Launch your team’s test, gather data, and study the results

Once the test is underway, gather the data needed to answer your burning questions. Analyze the data and results of your initiative. Decide whether your team wants to revisit adequate resources or move on to another condition.


Big Questions
  • How will your team know it is making progress? How will your team define success?
  • What feedback is needed from those involved in this effort to ensure that the processes you have developed are having the impact you intended? 
  • How will that feedback be used to make adjustments along the way?



Important Tasks

Implement the plan for how your school will build capacity and secure resources for collective leadership. 

Collect data from participants about progress made relative to building capacity for collective leadership.

Create a visible and formal means by which to share the resources that are being used to grow collective leadership.

Consider how your school might leverage the additional capacity that was developed as a result of your efforts. How will your team continue to grow these efforts?



Want assistance measuring the impact of your efforts?


CTQ’s tools

Understanding your team’s why
1. Establishing a Theory of Action

Designing your team’s how
2. Purpose map
3. Action timeline

Implementing your team’s plan
5. Impact assessment