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Author Archive: Doug Eadie

Doug Eadie, president & CEO of Doug Eadie & Company, Inc. (www.dougeadie.com) helps clients build high-impact board-CEO partnerships.

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Nashville MTA’s Innovative Budget Submission Pays Off Handsomely

September 8, 2017 0 Comments

        Steve Bland

This scenario will probably sound familiar to many if not most of our readers:

Board members over the course of one or more lengthy work sessions thumb through a massive budget tome consisting of page after page of numbers relating to numerous operational and administrative functions and myriad expense line-items.  Provided with little guidance in navigating a hugely complex document, they get bogged down in the        details and engage in nit-picking rather than making serious policy choices.  Sensing that they aren’t making a fundamental  difference in the affairs of the transit authority by working their way through the Read the rest

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COTA’s CEO Curtis Stitt Reflects on Chief Executive Leadership

August 25, 2017 0 Comments

       Curtis Stitt

Not long into my first in-depth conversation with Curtis Stitt, I realized that I was in the company of an uncommonly thoughtful CEO who was a deeply serious, passionate student of board and chief executive leadership.  And I knew that I’d lucked out in having the opportunity to work closely with Curtis on the governance front before his upcoming retirement as President & CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), which serves over 1.2 million residents in the Greater Columbus, Ohio region.   Having closely observed       Curtis in action over the past few months, I was delighted when … Read the rest

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Discussing Board Committees at APTA’s Transit Board Members Seminar on July 24

August 11, 2017 0 Comments

It was a distinct privilege and pleasure teaming up with Dave Stackrow in presenting our “Building a Rock-Solid Transit Board-CEO Partnership” program on July 24 in Chicago at APTA’s Transit Board Members and Board Support Seminar. You no doubt know that Dave chairs APTA’s Transit Board Members Committee and serves on the Executive Committee.  He is also the long-time Chair of the Board … Read the rest

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How Are You Doing as Your Board’s Chief Governing Partner?

July 18, 2017 1 Comment

         Doug Eadie

One of the topics that Dave Stackrow (long-time Chair of the Board of New York’s Capital District Transportation Authority) and I are planning to cover in our presentation on July 24 at APTA’s Board Members and Board Support Seminar in Chicago – “Building a Rock-Solid Transit Board-CEO Partnership” – is what questions board members might ask to determine if candidates for the CEO position in their authority are board-savvy enough to function at a high level as the board’s “Chief Governing Partner.” This is a really high-stakes matter since experience has amply demonstrated that truly board-savvy CEOs who … Read the rest

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The Chief of Staff Alternative To a Chief Operating Officer

July 7, 2017 0 Comments

       Doug Eadie

The May 19 post at this blog explored the CEO-chief operating officer leadership structure, which has proved very effective in freeing up CEO time for direct interaction with the governing board and with key external stakeholders, while ensuring adequate attention to internal operations. However, dividing the chief executive office into a CEO and a COO is not a viable option for many  nonprofit and public organizations, either because the CEO directly supervises too few executives to justify a COO or the organization’s culture militates against the CEO-COO structure.  If your transit authority falls into one of these categories, … Read the rest

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Peers Presenting to Peers: a Powerful Change Tool

June 23, 2017 1 Comment

It definitely wasn’t your traditional reporting-back session on June 6 in Cleveland. Board President George Dixon and Trustees Valarie McCall and Georgine Welo of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority were seated at a table facing other GCRTA Trustees, CEO Joseph Calabrese, and his top executives.  A couple of months earlier, GCRTA Trustees had spent a day in … Read the rest

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Aurora Jackson: a Board-Savvy CEO at the Helm at Lane Transit District

June 2, 2017 0 Comments

      Aurora Jackson

Listening to Aurora Jackson (“A.J.”) describe how she’d gone about building a solid partnership with her new board at the Lane Transit District (Eugene, Oregon) in our podcast recording session a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by what a great mentor she’d make for new transit CEOs. It’s nothing short of amazing when you consider she’s been at the helm of LTD for only 18 months.  I recalled some CEOs from the recent past who’d gotten off on the wrong foot with their new boards and barely kept their jobs after a brutal couple of years.  … Read the rest

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Have You Considered Adding a Chief Operating Officer To Your Executive Team?

May 19, 2017 0 Comments

         Doug Eadie

A two-person executive office consisting of a chief executive officer who focuses on the relationship with the board, strategic planning, and external/stakeholder relations, and a chief operating officer (COO) who oversees all internal operations, is a staple in the for-profit sector. And these days I’m seeing the configuration more frequently in larger public and nonprofit corporations where several senior executives once reported directly to the CEO.  There’s a pretty compelling reason for adopting this executive management structure:  freeing up the CEO to focus upward and outward – interacting intensively with her board of directors, promoting her organization’s image … Read the rest

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The Board Savviness of CEO Candidates Critical To a Solid Board-CEO Relationship

April 27, 2017 0 Comments

Doug Eadie

It was, as Yogi observed, “déjà vu all over again.”  After I’d spent a couple of hours talking with the CEO who’d called me to talk about problems he was having with his board, one thing was pretty obvious. Despite his having spent three years at the helm of the authority after ten years working his way up the executive ladder, this beleaguered leader didn’t possess the board savviness he needed to build and maintain a really solid working relationship with his board.  So his job was in serious jeopardy.  He’d been captive to an especially insidious and … Read the rest

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Don’t Let Your Board Beat You To the Punch

April 14, 2017 0 Comments

A couple of years ago I got a call from the chief executive of a regional transit authority who wanted to discuss a situation that was causing him more than a little heartburn.  In a nutshell, his board’s executive committee had decided to hold a daylong “governance work session” at which board members would explore ways they might clarify the board’s governing role, fine-tune the board’s committee structure, and update processes for engaging board members in processes like strategic planning.  He told me that he thought it was a “great idea,” but that he’d been shocked when the committee moved … Read the rest

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