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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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Two More Tips For Transit CEO-Aspirants

March 1, 2017 0 Comments

I opened the “Hit the Ground Running With Your New Board” webinar I recently presented for the New York Public Transportation Association by describing two “facts of life” in the public transportation business:  that surviving and thriving as a CEO depends on a rock-solid board-CEO partnership; and that this critical partnership is difficult to build and in the best of times fragile.  Indeed, I’d say that board-CEO relations is pretty treacherous terrain even for seasoned CEOs, much less for brand new CEOs who’ve never worked with a board.  One of the challenges that all CEOs face is the plethora of … Read the rest

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Make Sure Your Board Does a Really Good Job of Evaluating Your Performance

February 7, 2017 0 Comments

The really board-savvy transit CEOs I’ve worked with over the years make sure that their board regularly evaluates their performance, employing a well-designed process that is both thoughtful and substantive.  Why?  Because these CEOs well know that board evaluation of their performance is one of the most powerful tools for building and maintaining a solid board-CEO working relationship that can withstand the inevitable stresses and strains at the top of every transit authority.  So I’ll be spending several minutes discussing CEO evaluation during the “Hit the Ground Running With Your New Board” webinar I’ll be presenting later this month for … Read the rest

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Six Hats that Extraordinary Transit CEOs Wear

January 25, 2017 0 Comments

Doug Eadie

As part of my transit and nonprofit CEO coaching work over the past several years, I’ve developed six “hats” that – in my experience – really extraordinary chief executives wear.  These roles have proved to be a very useful framework for taking chief executive leadership to the next level.  I’ll be really interested in hearing from readers about their views on the work that extraordinary leaders do.  Here are the six “hats:”

  • Chief Board Governing Partner:  taking the lead in helping the board build its governing capacity and building and maintaining a close, positive, and productive board-CEO
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CDTA’s David Stackrow and Carm Basile on the Board Chair-CEO Partnership

January 17, 2017 0 Comments

I talked with Dave Stackrow, long-tenured Chair of the Board of the Capital District Transportation Authority (Albany, New York), a couple of days ago about providing transit board members with the information they need to build really solid partnerships with their CEOs.  We agreed that the indispensable foundation for board-CEO partnership building is a really close board chair-CEO working relationship.  While we were … Read the rest

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CEOs Leading From Their Bully Pulpit

January 10, 2017 0 Comments

Theodore Roosevelt

Over the holidays, I re-read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit, a superb study of the Progressive Era and the administrations of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.  According to Goodwin, Roosevelt coined the term “bully pulpit” to describe “the national platform the presidency provides to shape public sentiment and mobilize action.”  Roosevelt made full use of the pulpit his presidency provided, including his remarkable nine-week transcontinental train trip covering 14,000 miles across 24 states and territories in 1903.  Focusing on a small number of issues he passionately embraced, including corporate trusts, the tariff, and environmental … Read the rest

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Taking a Holistic Approach to Strengthening Your Board’s Culture

January 3, 2017 4 Comments

“Nothing’s really changed, and that’s terribly disappointing.”  This is what the CEO told me in a recent coaching session about the results of a daylong board-CEO “team building” retreat that’d been held around three months earlier.  The session had been scheduled, the CEO explained, in response to the perception of a majority of board members and the CEO that the board’s culture had become increasingly dysfunctional, characterized by uncivil debate in public board meetings, including some board members actually challenging their colleagues’ motives, and by board members snipping at the CEO and members of her executive team, etc.

This CEO … Read the rest

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Surviving and Thriving With Your First Board: 3 Tips for CEO-Aspirants

December 16, 2016 0 Comments

I’ve lost count of the horror stories CEOs have told me in our one-on-one coaching sessions – about working with their first board after reaching the top spot.  To call working with the board during that first year an ordeal by fire would be an understatement for many, if not most, transportation CEOs.   This is really unfortunate since the board is without question the CEO’s preeminent stakeholder:  who holds the purse strings; whose backing for CEO initiatives is essential; whose opposition can seriously diminish the CEO’s credibility; and who, ultimately, can end the CEO’s tenure.

Why do transit executives all … Read the rest

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Don’t Fall Into the Policy Governance Trap

December 1, 2016 0 Comments

jumping spiderA year or so ago, I got a call from a transit CEO desperate for help.  The year before, he explained, his board had adopted a “policy governance manual,” spelling out the roles and responsibilities of the board and CEO and making clear the limits on both board and executive authority.  For example, the manual specified that the CEO could sign consulting services contracts up to a maximum of $25,000, above which board approval was required, that the CEO was responsible for preparing the annual operating plan and budget, while the board was responsible for reviewing and adopting the plan … Read the rest

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Learning – and Owning – By Doing: the MTA and STARS Experience

November 2, 2016 0 Comments
Ed Benning

         Ed Benning

Ed Benning has bitten off a major chief executive leadership chunk:  not only serving as full-time General Manager/CEO of the Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) in Flint, Michigan, but also currently providing interim CEO leadership at STARS in nearby Saginaw.  Recognizing that both his boards would benefit from an opportunity to update their governing knowledge and skills, Ed and his two board chairs invited the two authorities’ board members and executive managers to participate in a half-day “high-impact governing work session.”  And being a really board-savvy CEO, Ed made sure his two board chairs were involved in putting together … Read the rest

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Board Members as Ambassadors-in-Chief Part 2: Your Image Vision

September 21, 2016 0 Comments

Diverse People in Meeting With Speech BubblesThe September 9 article at this blog, “Making Sure Your Board Members Succeed as Ambassadors-in-Chief,” points out that establishing a board standing committee responsible for overseeing external/stakeholder relations is one of the most important steps your authority can take to ensure that board members succeed as ambassadors.  And one of the critical functions of your board’s external/stakeholder relations committee is to oversee updating what I call your authority’s “Image Vision,” which provides the framework for identifying issues related to your authority’s image in the community and for fashioning image building strategies to address the issues.

The Image Vision is an … Read the rest

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