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Denver RTD’s CEO David Genova Talks About “Reimagine RTD”

September 5, 2019 0 Comments

Whenever I’m contacted by an executive team member asking if I’d be interested in providing assistance to some kind of strategic planning process the transit authority is launching, I always respond the same: I won’t know until I’ve spent an hour or two talking with the authority’s chief executive officer. And when the CEO and I do talk, I’m really interested in hearing her describe in detail the specific outcomes she wants the process to produce and how far out of the “box” of current operations the CEO is willing to have the process go. And I’m also very interested … Read the rest

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Getting Your New Board Committees Off on the Right Foot

August 23, 2019 0 Comments

Whether newly created board standing committees find their sea legs early in their existence and are soon firmly established depends heavily on two factors: the board chair’s appointment of the right board members to chair the new committees; and the CEO’s designation of an executive team member to serve as Chief Staff Liaison to each committee.

Once the new committees have effectively functioned for a year, the appointment of committee chairs is a more routine matter, but choosing the right first chairs for the new committees will be critical to their success as your board’s “governing engines.” Experience has taught … Read the rest

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Benjamin Limmer Takes the Helm at HART in Tampa

July 17, 2019 0 Comments

In the informative and fascinating podcast Ben Limmer, new Chief Executive Officer at the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), recorded for this blog last week he describes the professional path he traveled on the way to the top spot at HART.  Ben also explains how he determined that his transit experience and executive leadership skills were a good fit with the demands of the CEO position and the Board’s expectations at HART.  The result is a model that transit CEO-aspirants and CEOs considering a new position can draw on in advancing their careers.

Listening to Ben as we recorded … Read the rest

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David Stackrow: Transit Volunteer Extraordinaire

July 3, 2019 0 Comments

By virtue of his or her highly visible and influential position as “CEO” of the board, a chair can . . .play a leading role in educating board colleagues on advances in the field of transit governance and building their appetite for board capacity building;  champion the cause of board development, cooperating with the CEO in leading the process of updating the board’s governing role, structure, and processes; help to facilitate board-CEO interaction, fostering mutual understanding; and support the CEO’s executive leadership initiatives both internally and in the wider community.

This excerpt from Chapter Three of my and David Stackrow’s … Read the rest

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The Late Senator John McCain and True Humility

July 1, 2019 0 Comments

It seems appropriate, as we approach another Fourth of July celebration to re-post this article that originally appeared almost a year ago.  It’s about a true military hero, stalwart patriot, and man of sterling character, the late Senator John McCain, who possessed a trait characteristic of great leaders – true humility.  I’m sorry to say that it appears to be in ever shorter supply in these times of rampant, bombastic self-promotion.  Doug Eadie

Thinking about Senator John McCain this morning – along with millions of my fellow Americans and admirers around the world – reminded me of the critical role … Read the rest

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Board Chair Trudy Bartley and President/CEO Joanna Pinkerton on Breaking the Traditional CEO Mold at COTA

June 27, 2019 0 Comments

This article and the accompanying podcast featuring Trudy Bartley, Chair of the COTA Board of Trustees, and Joanna Pinkerton, COTA President/CEO, was originally published in 2018.  Since CEO leadership and structuring the CEO function are really hot topics among public transit leaders and this post and podcast have attracted tremendous attention, it seemed appropriate to bring them to the attention of our readers a year later.  Doug Eadie

Traditionally, at the top of the list of qualifications public transit boards specify when recruiting candidates for the CEO position is in-depth operational experience.  So it’s no surprise that over the years … Read the rest

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3 Quick Fixes That Won’t Corral the Rogues on Your Board

June 19, 2019 0 Comments

Last week’s post at this blog talked about tried and true approaches to reining in “rogue” board members. I defined them as “trouble makers who march to their own governing tune at their own tempo, with little concern about the impact on their board colleagues” and observed that their behavior “can erode a board’s governing performance and poison a board’s culture, while in the process occasionally even tarnishing a transit authority’s image in the community.” The most effective approach to fencing your rogue board members in and preventing them from wreaking havoc, according to last week’s post, is fully developing … Read the rest

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Successfully Reining in Rogue Board Members

June 10, 2019 0 Comments

“What can we do about rogue board members?”  I’ve heard this question countless times over the years in governance workshops I’ve presented at APTA meetings, most recently the CEOs Seminar in Chicago a couple of months ago.  Rogues, as you know, are trouble makers who march to their own governing tune at their own tempo, with little concern about the impact on their board colleagues.  Their behavior can erode a board’s governing performance and poison a board’s culture, while in the process occasionally even tarnishing a transit authority’s  image in the community.  I always preface my response to this predictable … Read the rest

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The Creativity-Innovation Nexus: Part One of Our Creativity Series

May 23, 2019 0 Comments

The innovation process – and the role of the chief executive as your authority’s “Chief Innovation Officer” – has been a major focus of this blog, and several posts have featured real-life cases of successful implementation of significant innovation initiatives. Our focus on innovation makes the best of sense in light of the challenges facing all transit authorities and other public/nonprofit organizations in these times of rapid change. Building your authority’s capacity to innovate is the key to future stability and growth, and standing pat, clinging to the present, is a sure-fire recipe for decline.

Up to now, our posts … Read the rest

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Don’t Let Silo Committees Trap You and Your Board Members

May 17, 2019 0 Comments

I spent a couple of hours with Board and Executive Team members of the Chatham Area Transit Authority (CAT, headquartered in Savannah, Georgia) in a special work session earlier this week.  We were reviewing the functional descriptions of four new Board standing committees being recommended by the Board’s “High-Impact Governing Steering Committee,” following up on a daylong retreat in February:  Strategic and Operational Planning; Performance Monitoring/Audit; External/Stakeholder Relations; and Governance.

At the February retreat we’d discussed the benefits of well-designed committees, including:

  • Dividing the highly complex and demanding work of governing into “chewable chunks,” making more in-depth deliberations possible and
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