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Two Lynchpins of a High-Performing Board Committee Structure

January 25, 2022 0 Comments

While preparing for an upcoming workshop with the CEO of a transit authority and her executive team recently, focusing on the nuts and bolts details involved in launching a new board committee structure, I reflected on a seminal learning experience early in my career, when I was chief of staff to the president of a three-campus urban community college district.  How fortunate I was to learn such an important lesson so early in my professional journey that has served me well in the ensuing years!   Here’s the story in a nutshell.

Over the course of the three years he chaired … Read the rest

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What’s in Your Board Chair’s Compensation Package?

January 19, 2022 0 Comments

I’ll never forget walking into a transit authority’s board room several years ago. I found the board chair – a highly influential attorney – fuming.  When I asked what was wrong, he handed me a clipping from the community affairs section of the local paper, saying “read this and you’ll see.”  The piece was a glowing review of the authority’s new agreement with the local three-campus community college system – providing frequent, convenient bus service to students.  I couldn’t see what the problem was until I got near the end of the piece, when I read a long quote from … Read the rest

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SEPTA’s Leslie Richards:  Passionate Out of the Box Innovator-in-Chief

December 18, 2021 0 Comments

What I call “out of the box” innovation is the road less traveled for many if not most public and nonprofit organizations for a number reasons.  Out of the box innovation focuses on addressing issues – change challenges in the form of both problem and opportunities – that force an organization outside the “box” of its current mission and operating plan/budget.   Perhaps the most formidable barrier making this kind of innovation the exception to the rule is the very normal human resistance to significant change.  But a close second is the absence of really strong, hands-on chief executive leadership.  I’ve … Read the rest

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How Transit CEO-Aspirants Can Demonstrate Board-Savviness to Search Committees

December 8, 2021 0 Comments

A major ongoing theme of www.boardsavvytransitceo.com has been preparing executive team members who are what we call CEO-aspirants to build productive, enduring partnerships with their new board.  As our readers well know, a shaky board-CEO working relationship is virtually certain to dramatically shorten a CEO’s tenure if it persists.  Well-designed training programs can be helpful in preparing CEO-aspirants  to meet the partnership building challenge once they take the helm.  However. in my professional opinion no one is better positioned to transform  executives into board-savvy CEO-aspirants than the CEO herself, wearing her mentoring hat.   You’ll recall that our November 4 post … Read the rest

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Boosting the Governing IQ of the CEO-Aspirants on Your Executive Team

November 4, 2021 0 Comments

In the video interview that’s featured in the October 26 post at this blog, “WeGo Public Transit’s Steve Bland:  a Consummate Board-Savvy CEO in Action,” Steve makes a strong point of his passionate commitment to mentoring members of his executive team who aspire to take the helm of a transit authority at some point in their career.  A major objective of what I call “Steve Bland U,” according to Steve, is getting his CEO-aspirants ready to build a truly rock-solid partnership with their board.  Since building and maintaining a really close, positive, and productive board-CEO working relationship is, in my … Read the rest

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WeGo Public Transit’s Steve Bland:  A Consummate Board-Savvy CEO in Action

October 26, 2021 0 Comments

As you’ll learn from the video interview I recently recorded with Steve Bland, Chief Executive Officer of WeGo Public Transit in Nashville, Steve is a veritable master of the high-stakes, tremendously complex, and rapidly evolving field of public transit governance.  Over the course of his quarter-century at the helm of four transit authorities, Steve has demonstrated that he’s in the forefront of a growing number of transit CEOs who make governance – particularly the partnership with their board – a top tier chief executive priority.  These really “board-savvy” transit CEOs are firmly committed to strong board leadership that goes well … Read the rest

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

July 1, 2021 0 Comments

“Rogue” board members 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.  The most effective approach to fencing your rogue board members in and preventing them from wreaking havoc is fully developing your board’s governing architecture.  In a nutshell, this involves such elements as a detailed description of your board’s governing responsibilities; a well-designed standing committee structure; strong … Read the rest

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An Error of Judgment I Won’t Repeat

June 23, 2021 0 Comments

A little over five years ago I made an error of judgment that taught me a couple of really valuable lessons.  I’d been retained by a Midwestern transit authority to assist in planning, facilitating, and following up on a daylong board “governance improvement work session.”  During my first meeting with the steering committee overseeing my work – the board chair, vice chair and two other board members – I advised my colleagues to include the CEO and his executive team members in our work session, explaining that this had become standard practice for a number of very sound reasons.  Based … Read the rest

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Joanna M. Pinkerton Leads a Panel Discussion on “Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership”

June 21, 2021 0 Comments

I’m pleased to share the new video interview that our colleague Joanna M. Pinkerton, President/CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), recently recorded for www.boardsavvytransitceo.com.  Joanna leads a panel discussion on my and Dave Stackrow’s new book, Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership: A Practical Guidebook for Transit Board Members, CEOs, and CEO-Aspirants. The panelists are Jeff Arndt, President and CEO, VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority (San Antonio); Steve Bland, CEO of Nashville MTA; and Nat Ford, CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. After I describe the book’s intended audience and takeaways, and explain why Dave and I wrote the … 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 1, 2021 0 Comments

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 the great majority of vacant CEO positions have been filled with executives who have worked their way up the operational ladder in one or more transit authorities.  This operational bias is easily understandable.  Even small to medium-sized transit authorities are incredibly complex organizations – both operationally and technically – and it’s only natural to want an executive in the top spot who can keep the buses and trains … Read the rest

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