Subscribe via RSS Feed
Subscribe to receive regular blog updates

Turning Board Evaluation of the CEO Into a More Powerful Relationship Building Tool

May 11, 2018 0 Comments

       Doug Eadie

“But won’t I be inviting my board members into my business and leaving myself open to the kind of micro-management that can really disrupt my work?” This is what I heard from the GM of a mid-size transportation authority during our recent discussion over lunch of the process her board might use to assess her work. We’d agreed that a well-designed annual GM evaluation process was one of the most important vehicles for keeping her working relationship with the board healthy. And we’d also agreed that an objective evaluation process should heavily focus on the authority’s overall performance … Read the rest

Continue Reading »

The CEO-COO Partnership: Powerful Benefits But a Real Challenge to Make It Work

May 2, 2018 0 Comments

       Doug Eadie

A two-person executive office consisting of a chief executive officer who focuses on the relationship with the board, strategic planning, and external/stakeholder relations, and a chief operating officer (COO) who oversees all internal operations, is a staple in the for-profit sector. And these days I’m seeing the configuration more frequently in larger public and nonprofit corporations where several senior executives once reported directly to the CEO. There’s a pretty compelling reason for adopting this executive management structure: freeing up the CEO to focus upward and outward – interacting intensively with her board of directors, promoting her organization’s image … Read the rest

Continue Reading »

Don’t Forget Your Board Chair’s Paycheck

April 19, 2018 0 Comments

         Doug Eadie

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 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 … Read the rest

Continue Reading »

Don’t Allow Yourself to Get Caught in the “Policy Governance” Trap

April 10, 2018 0 Comments

         Doug Eadie

A year or so ago, I got a call from a transit CEO desperate for help.  The year before, he explained, his board had adopted a “policy governance manual,” spelling out the roles and responsibilities of the board and CEO and making clear the limits on both board and executive authority.  For example, the manual specified that the CEO could sign consulting services contracts up to a maximum of $25,000, above which board approval was required, that the CEO was responsible for preparing the annual operating plan and budget, while the board was responsible for reviewing and adopting … Read the rest

Continue Reading »

Don’t Emulate Poor Richard III: Protect Your Authority’s Image

April 2, 2018 0 Comments

And therefore since I cannot prove a lover to entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days. Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous….

Ah, King Richard III:   how we love to hate him, how we shiver at his delicious villainy! He was Duke of Gloucester when William Shakespeare put these words in his mouth in the monologue that opens his riveting “The Tragedy of King Richard the Third,” and in the play Richard soon murders his way to the throne of England, his most infamous victims being his … Read the rest

Continue Reading »

How To Make Financial Reporting a High-Powered Relationship Building and PR Tool

March 29, 2018 0 Comments

Doug Eadie

Let me tell you a tale of two authorities’ very different approaches to presenting financial performance reports at their monthly board meetings.  Authority A takes a pretty traditional approach.  The authority’s CFO thoroughly reviews the multi-page financial report, consisting of rows and columns of numbers, with the board’s finance committee, which passes the report along to the full board in the monthly board meeting packet.  The CFO presents highlights from the report at the full board meeting and answers any questions the board might have.

Authority B’s approach is dramatically different.  The CFO takes the board’s performance monitoring … Read the rest

Continue Reading »

Taking Re-Branding Up a Big Notch: Karen Philbrick on the MTI Experience

March 20, 2018 0 Comments

     Karen Philbrick

I wasn’t initially blown away by enthusiasm when Karen Philbrick, Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute, suggested that we record a podcast for this blog focusing on MIT’s re-branding initiative.  What came immediately to mind were the many re-branding efforts I’d observed over the years that involved essentially cosmetic touch-ups.  I was reminded of the most recent egregious example:  a local economic and community development corporation whose light – the board and chief executive had concluded – was well hidden by the proverbial bushel:  its role unclear and its achievements unrecognized.  Unfortunately, they chose a cheap and … Read the rest

Continue Reading »

APTA’s Dynamic Leadership Duo Takes on the Mobility Management Issue

March 14, 2018 0 Comments

Drawing on my quarter-century in the public/nonprofit leadership field, I could share many true stories of successful board chair-CEO collaboration that make the case for what really board-savvy CEOs well know: investing in the development of a rock-solid board chair-CEO working relationship can yield powerful organizational dividends.   In fact, I would suggest that one of the preeminent priorities of a truly board-savvy CEO … Read the rest

Continue Reading »

Board-Savvy CEOs Avoid Falling Into the Board Self-Assessment Trap

March 7, 2018 0 Comments

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

Continue Reading »

Dramatic Innovation on the Health and Wellness Front at IndyGo on CEO Michael Terry’s Watch

March 3, 2018 0 Comments

       Michael Terry

The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (known as “IndyGo”) has been blazing trails on the health and wellness front for the past decade under the leadership of its President and CEO, Michael Terry.  In the podcast he recently recorded for this blog, Mike describes a number of significant innovation initiatives in the health and wellness area that IndyGo has successfully implemented on his watch, including a comprehensive employee wellness program and an on-site primary care clinic.

As our readers well know, significant organizational change tends not to happen, and CEOs who would spearhead change face a daunting challenge. Perhaps … Read the rest

Continue Reading »