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David Stackrow, Master of the Governing Game, on the Board Chair-CEO Partnership

January 10, 2018 0 Comments

David Stackrow

I’m delighted that David Stackrow was able to carve out an hour earlier this week for us to record a podcast focusing on the board chair-CEO working relationship.  Dave’s one of the busiest public/nonprofit leaders I’ve worked with over the past quarter-century.  Managing Partner of Scott Stackrow Co., P.C., a thriving financial services firm, Dave not only chairs the Board of Directors of the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA; Albany, NY), but also serves as Vice Chair of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), a new role requiring  extensive travel.

No leader I can think of is more … Read the rest

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Time to Update and Fine-Tune Your CEO Leadership Resolutions

December 21, 2017 0 Comments

         Doug Eadie

There’s wide agreement in the public transit sector that one of the preeminent vehicles for building and maintaining a close, productive, and enduring board-CEO working relationship is a well-designed and meticulously executed process for board evaluation of CEO performance. CEO evaluation is often carried out by the board’s “governance” (sometimes called “board operations”) committee – at least annually and often semi-annually early in the CEO’s tenure.  I’m pleased to report that in recent years, an increasing number of transit boards have moved away from those once-popular but highly subjective questionnaires that assess the CEO’s functional excellence (for example, … Read the rest

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Making Sure Your Retreat Generates Powerful Outcomes

December 14, 2017 0 Comments

Over my thirty years of work with public transit CEOs and their boards, I’ve seen a number of transit authorities bring off board-CEO-executive team retreats that have made a real difference in their authorities’ affairs: developing board governing capacity; strengthening the board-CEO working relationship; updating values, vision, and strategic goals; energizing board and staff members; etc. By the way, a real retreat (as opposed to just a long meeting) lasts at least a full day and often 1 ½ days.

Experience has taught me that the key to a productive and energizing retreat is a systematic retreat design process that … Read the rest

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Cleveland’s Joe Calabrese: Innovator Par Excellence

November 30, 2017 0 Comments

      Joe Calabrese

Over the past quarter-century I’ve learned that the public transportation authorities that are really good at getting significant, out of the box change accomplished are invariably led by a CEO/GM who is passionately committed to playing – and well prepared to play – what I call the Innovator-in-Chief role.  The CEO/GM is the only person in your authority who can wear the Innovator-in-Chief hat for the simple reason that no one else brings to the change game the formal authority, influence, access to resources, and time required to spearhead an out-of-the-box change effort and to overcome the inevitable … Read the rest

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Beware of Passionate Ownership of Mismanaged Change

November 13, 2017 0 Comments

         Doug Eadie

“You’re pretty obviously over your head and can’t really understand what we’re doing.  Instead of getting people riled up, why don’t you get yourself up to speed and join the team?”  This is what I was told in so many words several years ago – early in my public management career – when I had questioned the progress that a consulting team reported it was making in upgrading the financial management system of a large public transportation agency.  Reflecting on that experience years later, I think what was at work was a modern version of     that classic cautionary … Read the rest

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Nat Ford on Hitting the Ground Running As a New CEO

October 5, 2017 1 Comment

Nat Ford

You’ve got to bring incredible passion to survive and thrive at the 24/7 job of heading a public transportation authority. If you don’t, there’s a clear and present danger the inevitable pressures will wear you down and dangerously dull your effectiveness.  This is one of several gems of practical wisdom that Nat Ford, Chief Executive Officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and former CEO of Atlanta’s MARTA and San Francisco’s SFMTA, shares in his thoughtful new podcast for boardsavvytransitceo.com.  One of Nat’s preeminent professional passions – sure to be one of his top leadership priorities as APTA’s new … Read the rest

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Nashville MTA’s Innovative Budget Submission Pays Off Handsomely

September 8, 2017 0 Comments

Steve Bland

This scenario will probably sound familiar to many if not most of our readers:

Board members over the course of one or more lengthy work sessions thumb through a massive budget tome consisting of page after page of numbers relating to numerous operational and administrative functions and myriad expense line-items.  Provided with little guidance in navigating a hugely complex document, they get bogged down in the        details and engage in nit-picking rather than making serious policy choices.  Sensing that they aren’t making a fundamental  difference in the affairs of the transit authority by working their way through the Read the rest

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COTA’s CEO Curtis Stitt Reflects on Chief Executive Leadership

August 25, 2017 0 Comments

       Curtis Stitt

Not long into my first in-depth conversation with Curtis Stitt, I realized that I was in the company of an uncommonly thoughtful CEO who was a deeply serious, passionate student of board and chief executive leadership.  And I knew that I’d lucked out in having the opportunity to work closely with Curtis on the governance front before his upcoming retirement as President & CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), which serves over 1.2 million residents in the Greater Columbus, Ohio region.   Having closely observed       Curtis in action over the past few months, I was delighted when … Read the rest

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Discussing Board Committees at APTA’s Transit Board Members Seminar on July 24

August 11, 2017 0 Comments

It was a distinct privilege and pleasure teaming up with Dave Stackrow in presenting our “Building a Rock-Solid Transit Board-CEO Partnership” program on July 24 in Chicago at APTA’s Transit Board Members and Board Support Seminar. You no doubt know that Dave chairs APTA’s Transit Board Members Committee and serves on the Executive Committee.  He is also the long-time Chair of the Board … Read the rest

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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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