The capacity to make improvements is a necessary (though not a sufficient) condition for schools seeking to build instructional capacity:
if schools do not have the
ability to make improvements
in many aspects of their operations, they are unlikely to be
able to improve instruction
and meet higher learning goals"
(Hatch, 2009, p. 22)

Developing shared understanding
Developing a shared understanding of missions, goals, and key organizational practices provides a basis for distributing leadership and enabling many members of the school community to make decisions and act in ways that are coordinated and consistent.

Dealing with hiring and turnover
Like the “great” companies studied by Jim Collins (2001), schools need to be able to hire the “right” people and find ways to get those people into the right roles whether or not those schools have the ultimate authority to hire, fire or make job assignments.

Creating a productive work environment
Carefully orchestrating time, space, and staffing – allowing for both individual flexibility and collaborative work – fosters the development of common purposes, the sharing of expertise, and the promotion of interdependence and trust among members.

Managing the external environment
Getting “insiders” out of the school and “outsiders” in builds relationships between school staff and parents, community members, district administrators, reform organizations and others. Those relationships in turn give the staff members opportunities to learn about and influence what’s going on outside the school and to reshape demands when necessary. Turning those relationships into networks of allies who will provide support in times of crisis enables schools to create conditions more conducive to their success.

These "internal" and "external" practices are closely intertwined (see Figure II.1). Developing a mission, hiring appropriate staff, and creating a productive work environment equip school staff with the knowledge, expertise and authority they need to work effectively outside the school. In turn, the ability of these schools to develop those external relationships, influence work on the "outside", and reshape and reshape external demands makes it easier for them to sustain their mission, attract qualified staff, and create a productive work environment. This circular relationship helps to explain why it takes capacity to build capacity and why it is so hard to help schools that do not already have some capacity to manage external demands.