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Tag: board development

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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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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Make Sure Your Board Has Its Own Governing Mission

August 11, 2016 0 Comments

Diverse People in Meeting With Speech Bubbles“Does your board have a detailed governing mission?”  My question was greeted by some quizzical looks in a recent “board-savvy CEO” workshop I was conducting for chief executives and CEO-aspirants.  One participant pointed out that her transportation authority regularly updated its mission – with active board involvement – and asked if that was what I was talking about.  My response:   “No, I mean your board’s unique governing mission, not your authority’s overall mission.”  I went on to explain that the board, like every other major organizational unit in your authority, needs its own mission describing what it’s responsible for.

I … Read the rest

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There’s a Right Way to Involve Your Board in Governance Self-Assessment

September 30, 2015 0 Comments

Diverse People in Meeting With Speech Bubbles

Our previous post, “Don’t Get Caught in the Board Self-Assessment Trap,” tells the true story of a GM who’d been talked into having his board members fill in a questionnaire assessing their governing performance. He’d been told by a local nonprofit resource center that this was the “indispensable” first step in launching an initiative to strengthen the board’s governing capacity. To the GM’s dismay, the input he received from the self-assessment process turned out to be virtually useless in the capacity building effort. The reason was simple: the questionnaire input largely consisted of highly subjective opinions that weren’t based on … Read the rest

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Don’t Get Caught In the Board Self-Assessment Trap

September 1, 2015 4 Comments

iStock_000020585606Large I received an email promo last week from a national nonprofit ballyhooing its board self-assessment “tool,” which reminded me of a true story that goes back around four years. The GM of a large urban transportation authority called me to get my feedback on a dilemma he found himself in. He’d retained one of those local nonprofit leadership centers that have sprung up around the country in recent years to help design and carry out a board capacity building initiative that he saw as badly needed. He’d sought help, he said, because he’d grown increasingly worried about the pretty obvious … Read the rest

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Bringing New Board Member On Board – The Right Way

August 25, 2015 2 Comments

The GM, along with his top five executives, made sure the two incoming board iStock_000020585606Largemembers, neither of whom had been involved with public transportation issues, got a thorough briefing on the authority during the two-hour orientation session in the GM’s office.   They learned about the authority’s services, organizational structure, revenue streams, expenditure budget, and long-range capital plan, among other things, referring frequently to the handsome notebook staff had put together. There was plenty of time to ask questions over the box lunch following the staff presentation, after which the chief operating officer took the incoming board members on a tour Read the rest

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Turning the Governance Corner at BJCTA

March 20, 2015 0 Comments

In a special work session on March 17, the Board of Directors of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority in Alabama took a giant step forward on the governance front.  Six of the seven Board members present (there was one abstention) voted to adopt the Board’s first detailed “Governing Mission,” a high-level description of the Board’s major governing responsibilities (for example, “periodically updating BJCTA’s core values, vision for the future, and mission”). Even more important, they voted to establish a contemporary structure of three standing committees to assist the Board in carrying out its highly complex governing work:  Governance & External … Read the rest

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Bringing Off a Path-Breaking BJCTA Board-Executive Work Session

January 30, 2015 0 Comments

Our last blog post described a dramatic step the Board of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) took just four days before the scheduled daylong “High-Impact Governing Work Session” involving Board members, Executive Director Ann August, and her top lieutenants. By electing a new chair, Dr. Patrick Sellers, in a special public meeting, the majority of Board members dramatically signaled that they were putting a contentious past behind them and setting out to build a solid, enduring Board-Executive Director working relationship.

Of course, board-executive retreats can, as you well know, easily come unraveled – with disastrous results. That BJCTA’s High-Impact … Read the rest

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Board Development By Design

January 15, 2015 0 Comments

The August 22, 2014 issue of APTA’s Passenger Transport includes a piece I wrote for the Commentary section, “Board Development by Design:  A Board-Savvy CEO role.”  Before getting into the process of developing a transportation board’s governing capacity in some detail, I asked the reader to “keep in mind a very important lesson I learned early in my career:  A public transportation authority’s GM or CEO must be a leading participant – indeed, the prime mover – in fashioning a comprehensive plan for developing the board’s governing capacity.”  I go on to explain why, pointing out that board members, typically … Read the rest

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