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Board-CEO Involvement in External Relations/Resource Development

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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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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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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Making Sure Your Board Members Succeed as Ambassadors-in-Chief

September 9, 2016 0 Comments
         Doug Eadie

         Doug Eadie

“What do you think about getting my board members more actively involved in our public relations efforts?”  My response to the transit CEO who’d asked this question during a recent coaching session was an unequivocal “Yes!”  The subject is really close to my heart, since over the course of my 30 years of work with public transit CEOs and their boards I’ve seen many transit authorities fail to capitalize on their boards as a powerful asset in the external/stakeholder relations arena, leaving them terribly vulnerable when asking taxpayers for increased financial support.  Let’s be honest.  Public transit systems … Read the rest

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Our Land of Opportunity – Still

February 25, 2016 0 Comments

This article, which originally appeared at the DougEadie.com blog, attracted so many positive comments that I thought this blog’s readers might find it interesting and provocative.

“You know”, I said, “if you go back far enough, the overwhelming majority of us are from somewhere else.” We were introducing ourselves during the first hour of the inaugural English conversation class I’m teaching at the Hispanic Outreach Center in Clearwater, Florida, and it was my turn to tell a bit about my own family history. I went on to tell about Dad’s Grandfather Eadie, a Scottish coal miner who almost certainly never … Read the rest

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A Case For Aggressive Image Building

November 14, 2015 0 Comments
King Richard III

King Richard III

And therefore since I cannot prove a lover to entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days. Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous….

Ah, King Richard III:   how we love to hate him, how we shiver at his delicious villainy! He was Duke of Gloucester when William Shakespeare put these words in his mouth in the monologue that opens his riveting “The Tragedy of King Richard the Third,” and in the play Richard soon murders his way to the throne of England, his most infamous … Read the rest

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Greenlight Pinellas: A Pothole on the Road to Ultimate Success

October 16, 2015 2 Comments
PSTA CEO Brad Miller

PSTA CEO Brad Miller

Residents of Pinellas County, Florida who, like me, are strong supporters of expanding public transportation options in this increasingly gridlocked metropolitan area were sorely disappointed in November 2014. Voters overwhelmingly defeated a ballot measure to fund – with a new 1 percent sales tax – a comprehensive transportation plan developed by Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) known as “Greenlight Pinellas.” Defeat of transportation tax issues has been quite common in Florida for years, but the magnitude of the Greenlight defeat was startling in light of the meticulously crafted plan and widespread support for the ballot issue … Read the rest

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Bagging Three Big Feathered Friends

July 31, 2015 0 Comments

Let me tell you a tale of two authorities’ very different approaches to presenting financial performance reports at their monthly board meetings.  Authority A takes a pretty traditional approach.  The authority’s CFO thoroughly reviews the multi-page financial report, consisting of rows and columns of numbers, with the board’s finance committee, which passes the report along to the full board in the monthly board meeting packet.  The CFO presents highlights from the report at the full board meeting and answers any questions the board might have.

Authority B’s approach is dramatically different.  The CFO takes the board’s performance monitoring committee through … Read the rest

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Getting Your Board Involved in Image Building

February 10, 2015 0 Comments

Josh Barro’s article in the February 10 issue of the New York Times, “To Save on Rail Lines, Market the Bus Line,” makes a point that many if not most of us would agree with:  that, to quote from a 2009 FTA report, “Bus-based transit in the United States suffers from an image problem.”  Josh makes another point that many of us might not agree with:  “Transit agencies are spending millions of dollars on new rail infrastructure that is no faster than existing bus service, simply because riders perceive a train as better than a bus.”  While Josh’s second point … Read the rest

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Widening Ownership of the TriMet Strategic Financial Plan

October 16, 2014 0 Comments

Ownership is a powerful, positive force in the sphere of leadership.  Indeed, feelings of ownership are the fuel that generates the kind of commitment you can count on over the long run – to decisions, strategies, and key policy documents like your public transportation authority’s annual budget and long-range financial plan.  Board-savvy public transportation CEOs well know that a critical part of their job is making sure that their board members and the representatives of important stakeholder organizations such as the chamber of commerce and county commission are transformed into owners, rather than just being an audience for decisions already … Read the rest

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