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Board-CEO Relationship

Beware of Those Insidious Foes That Can Do You In

April 8, 2016 0 Comments

jumping spider

I’m working on a new book about “insidious foes” of a close, positive, and productive board-CEO working relationship.  The foes are erroneous assumptions that can do serious damage to the  relationship.  A foe is “insidious” if it isn’t obviously dangerous.  In fact, many “insidious foes” are especially dangerous because they’re nuggets of conventional wisdom that appear to make good sense and don’t seem at all threatening at first blush.

An insidious foe that came immediately to mind when I was brainstorming my initial list was the erroneous assumption that organizational performance essentially determines the health of the board-CEO working relationship.  … Read the rest

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Carm Basile and Steve Bland On Getting Ready To Work With a Board

February 3, 2016 0 Comments

The January 27 post at this blog – “How Ironic – and Dangerous!” – talks about how little attention has been paid to helping senior public transportation executives who are CEO-aspirants get ready to work with a board. This is really ironic when you consider that the single most important factor determining a public transportation CEO’s success – and longevity at the helm … Read the rest

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Tending To Your Preeminent Stakeholder

July 8, 2015 0 Comments

One of the brDiverse People in Meeting With Speech Bubbleseakout groups at a board-CEO/GM retreat I recently facilitated had a great time going through what I call the “stakeholder relationship maintenance” exercise.  The six breakout group participants, who were led by the chair of the board’s external/stakeholder relations committee, first made a list of all of the authority’s important stakeholders.  By the way, for purposes of the exercise, we defined a “stakeholder” as any formal organization or group external to the authority with which it made sense to build and maintain a relationship because of the stakes involved – such as money and political support.  … Read the rest

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Non-Monetary Compensation Part II: A Costly Missed Opportunity

March 10, 2015 1 Comment

Walking into the authority’s boardroom to meet with the board chair, I was surprised to find her fuming.  Before I could even say “good morning,” she slammed the metro section of the daily paper down on the table, saying “Take a look at this.”  In a nutshell, a reporter on the metro beat had spent a couple of hours talking with the authority’s CEO about the agreement that the authority and local community college had entered into for the provision of bus service to students.  The piece was really laudatory, praising the authority’s CEO for leading the charge to expand … Read the rest

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Use Non-monetary Compensation To Cement the Relationship With Your Board Chair

February 26, 2015 1 Comment

Three different public transportation CEOs, three different but related true stories about strengthening the board chair-CEO working relationship:

  • The CEO got a call from the president of the local chamber of commerce, inviting the CEO to speak at the upcoming chamber luncheon meeting about the tie between public transportation and economic development. Knowing her chair’s strong interest in economic development and how much he enjoyed speaking, the CEO recommended her chair for the job. It turns out he was a great choice, acquitting himself extremely well at the podium and even joining the chamber’s economic development committee a few months
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CEOs Susan Meyer and Gary Thomas on Board-CEO Communication and Interaction

February 4, 2015 1 Comment

Keeping the board-CEO working relationship on an even keel and healthy over the long run is a major challenge. Just the fact that strong-willed people with robust egos have to be melded into enough of a team to do the extremely complex and demanding work of governing is challenging enough, but other factors tend to make the board-CEO partnership inherently fragile and prone to erode quickly if not diligently managed. For one thing, the high-pressure atmosphere at the top of your transportation authority, where high-stakes and often tremendously thorny issues are addressed – frequently with intense public scrutiny – tends … Read the rest

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BJCTA Takes a Big Step Toward a Solid Board-CEO Partnership

January 23, 2015 0 Comments
BJCTA Takes a Big Step Toward a Solid Board-CEO Partnership

Ann August, Executive Director (CEO) of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA), and several of her top lieutenants were pretty apprehensive about the daylong “High-Impact Governing Work Session” that was scheduled for January 9-10.  The BJCTA Board, Ann, and Executive Staff members would be brainstorming practical ways to clarify and strengthen the Board’s governing role and functions and to build and maintain a solid Board-Executive Director-Executive Staff working relationship.  Ann and her senior executives had good reason to feel apprehensive.  As BJCTA’s new Board Chair, Dr. Patrick Sellers, and Ann explain in a podcast that will be published at this … Read the rest

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Meeting the Relationship Challenge

November 19, 2014 0 Comments

Keeping the board-CEO/GM working relationship on an even keel and healthy over the long run is a major challenge. Just the fact that strong-willed people with robust egos have to be melded into enough of a team to do the extremely complex and demanding work of governing a transportation authority is challenging enough, but other factors help to make the board-CEO/GM partnership inherently fragile and prone to erode quickly if not diligently managed. For one thing, the high-pressure atmosphere at the top of a transportation authority, where high-stakes and often tremendously thorny issues are addressed – frequently with intense public … Read the rest

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Steve Bland and Nat Ford On the Board Chair-CEO Partnership

October 21, 2014 0 Comments

This is the third article we’ve posted on building a close, positive and productive partnership between the board chair and CEO. And it won’t be the last, you can be sure, because of the high-stakes involved in this critical working relationship. I would suggest that one of the top priorities of a truly board-savvy transportation CEO is to transform his or her board chair into a strong governing partner, a reliable ally, and when needed, an ardent change champion. The board chair makes an especially important partner for the CEO not only because of his or her formal authority as … Read the rest

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Clear Board Chair Leadership Targets

October 7, 2014 0 Comments

My September 9 post – “Learn From a Dynamic Board Chair-CEO Partnership” – features Dave Stackrow, Board Chair, and Carm Basile, Chief Executive Officer, of the Capital District Transportation Authority, talking about their very close and productive working relationship.  In two or three weeks, we’ll be posting a podcast here by Steve Bland, Chief Executive Officer of the Nashville MTA, and Nat Ford, Chief Executive Officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, talking about steps they’ve taken over the years to cement their partnerships with their board chairs.

There’s pretty wide agreement that the board savviest public transportation CEOs make a … Read the rest

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