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Effective Collaborative Leadership and Teaming Strategies Barbara J. Smith, Ph.D. University of Colorado Denver September, 2008. Overview of Presentation. The “Why", "Who” and “What”

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Effective Collaborative Leadership and Teaming Strategies

Barbara J. Smith, Ph.D.

University of Colorado Denver

September, 2008

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Overview of Presentation

  • The “Why", "Who” and “What”

  • The Collaborative Leadership, Teaming and Planning Model: An Evidence-Based Approach to State and Local Planning

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Why Engage in Collaborative Team Planning? (or, why can’t I just do it myself?)

  • Two heads really are better than one

  • Stakeholder buy-in and support

  • Many EC services and programs exist in any state or community including child care, public preschool, Head Start, early intervention, family child care, etc. They need to be coordinated so that resources and activities can be shared

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Examples of Collaborative Leadership and Planning

  • State level:

    • Coordinated professional development (PD) system

  • Community level:

    • Coordinated training and TA services

  • Program/family level:

    • Program-wide PBS/Pyramid teaming

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Is Collaborative Planning Effective?

  • It depends on, who, how, why, what……

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What Works

Collaborative leadership and teaming:

  • Is a process not an event

  • Is hard work: collaboration

  • Requires trust and respect across team members

  • Requires buy-in and ownership of all stakeholders

  • “You can’t mandate what matters”

  • Logistics and meeting strategies to ensure trust, buy-in, action and results!

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What Works

Collaborative leadership and planning requires:

  • objective team facilitation

  • Skills in group decision making

  • shared understanding: purpose, values, passion, concepts, language, ground rules

  • shared vision

  • written action or strategic plans

  • ongoing supports and resources, incentives

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Collaborative Leadership, Teaming and Planning Model

  • Builds on evidence-based practices and experience

  • Based upon a collaborative leadership team that:

    • establishes a shared goal or vision,

    • engages in shared decision making and action planning to reach the goal,

    • and evaluates both the team process and outcomes

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  • Leadership:

  • Administration

  • Stakeholder Team



  • Evaluation:

  • Process

  • Outcome

  • Action Planning:

  • Objectives/Strategies

  • Action Steps

  • Resources

  • Timelines

  • Outcome/Impact

Assessment of

Challenges to Vision

Collaborative Planning Model for Program Improvement and Systems Change

Smith, B.J. (2006), Module 4, Center on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, www.vanderbilt.edu/csefel

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Collaborative Team


  • Depends on purpose of team

  • Are decision-makers

  • Have the support of the decision makers above them

  • Are committed to cause and shared decision-making

  • Have a stake in the vision or goal

  • Have a positive attitude

  • Agree to the logistics for conducting the work of the team

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Team Logistics & Ground Rules

  • Size: around 10 members

  • Ground rules:

    • attendance: no substitutes or representatives

    • absenteeism: support decisions and stay informed

    • rules for respectful communication

    • rules for decision making

  • Place and time for meetings: planned early; convenient

  • Agendas: meeting objectives, decisions to be made, member roles, time allotments for each agenda item

  • Administrative support: agendas, meeting logistics, minutes, etc

  • Meeting evaluations

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Team Facilitation

Team meetings need meeting facilitation that:

  • Promotes trust among members

  • Uses shared decision making meeting activities and strategies

  • Results in every meeting being productive

  • May be provided by an outsider or, if insider, must be viewed as objectiveand fair; may be shared among rotatingteam members

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Team Goal/Vision

  • Defines and binds team to a common purpose/direction

  • Is inspiring while also concrete and attainable

  • Can be changed if the team agrees

  • Builds:

    • Common ground

    • Common understanding

    • Common language

    • Trust

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Challenges to the Vision

  • What must we overcome to achieve goal or vision?

  • Which challenges do we address? How do we prioritize?

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Action Plans

  • Develop Written Action Plans to overcome identified challenges and move toward the vision

  • Written action plans can are used for:

    • Coordination of activities

    • Establishing work groups

    • Meeting agendas

    • Evaluation

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Action Plans

  • Address what needs to be done to overcome challenges and to implement change

  • Address important transitions

  • Address what needs to be done to sustain the change

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Action Planning Form

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  • Evaluate the Team and Planning Process

  • Evaluate the Outcomes