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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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Vision: Your Board’s Driver of Innovation and Change

March 25, 2017 0 Comments

This article originally appeared at our Extraordinary CEO blog.  It is just as pertinent to public transit leaders.

A few months ago I sat in on a meeting of the board planning committee of a nonprofit economic development corporation.  We were running through an outline of the agenda for the corporation’s upcoming board-CEO-executive team daylong “strategic work session,” which would kick-off the corporation’s annual planning cycle.  Things were going really smoothly until we got to the description of the breakout group that was to fashion an updated vision statement for the corporation.  Three of the seven committee members immediately went … Read the rest

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Don’t Wait Until the 11th Hour To Do Succession Planning

March 7, 2017 0 Comments

         Doug Eadie

Many, perhaps most, transit board members and CEOs see succession planning as a negative process that boards get involved in when their relationship with their CEO is frayed or even totally broken.  But in my experience, developing a CEO succession plan isn’t just a very positive process, it’s also part of the imprint – the legacy – that that a really board-savvy transit CEO will want to leave in her authority.  CEO succession planning, which a recent report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City defines as “a structured process to ensure leadership continuity,” should deal with … Read the rest

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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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