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Author Archive: Doug Eadie

Doug Eadie, president & CEO of Doug Eadie & Company, Inc. (www.dougeadie.com) helps clients build high-impact board-CEO partnerships.

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Crises Demand Energizers-in-Chief at All Levels

March 31, 2020 0 Comments

“The fog of despair hung over the land.  One out of every four American workers lacked a job.  Factories that had once darkened the skies with smoke stood ghostly and silent, like extinct volcanoes.  In October the New York City Health Department had reported that over one-fifth of the pupils in public schools were suffering from malnutrition. . . .Hunger marchers, pinched and bitter, were parading cold streets in New York and Chicago. . . .”  This is Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.’s description of America in 1933, in his magisterial The Crisis of the Old Order:  a nation in … Read the rest

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Don’t Count on Even Superb Performance Always Cutting it!

March 20, 2020 0 Comments

When I walked in Rich’s office for our weekly project review meeting, I found him slumped at his desk looking distraught.  When I asked him what’d happened, he just said “take a look,” handing me a form.  It was the annual performance evaluation his board had performed a couple of days ago.  Scanning the document, I couldn’t fathom his distress since his scores were uniformly high – in fact, superb.  That is, until I reached the bottom and saw the conclusion, which said in so many words, “You do a great job, but we find working with you impossible.”  He Read the rest

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CEO Evaluation: a Potentially Powerful Relationship Adhesive

March 9, 2020 0 Comments

At a daylong “High-Impact Governing Work Session” last fall, the board, executive director/CEO and executive team of Access Services in Los Angeles County spent around 1 ½ hours  discussing practical ways to cement the executive director’s working relationship with his board.  One of the relationship building tools the group closely examined was board evaluation of the executive director’s performance.  But they didn’t mean one of those highly subjective and essentially meaningless questionnaires that board members often individually fill out in the privacy of their own offices.

These questionnaires miss the point by having board members assess their CEO’s functional excellence … Read the rest

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The Engine Powering Your Transit Authority’s Governing Machine

January 21, 2020 0 Comments

Over the years I’ve often heard transit boards described as “policy-making bodies,” which doesn’t begin to convey the complexity of governing work.  It makes more sense to think about your authority’s board as a kind of governing machine that continuously produces governing decisions about such governing “products” as your authority’s updated values and vision statements, the new strategic plan, and next year’s operating plan and budget.  Your governing machine also produces a steady stream of governing judgments answering the classic governing question, “How are we doing? – on the basis of such information as your authority’s monthly or quarterly operational … Read the rest

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HART’s Ben Limmer: Career Planner Extraordinaire

December 13, 2019 0 Comments

The following post originally appeared at this blog in July 2019.  In light of the tremendous positive  response to the post, including the podcast I recorded with Ben, we’re running it again for our blog followers as a holiday treat.  Happy Holidays!  Doug Eadie

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 … Read the rest

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Beware of the Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome

December 2, 2019 0 Comments

“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 tale, “The … Read the rest

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Leading Innovators-in-Chief: Disney’s Robert Iger and DART’s Gary Thomas

November 11, 2019 0 Comments

“What can I do to get my board meaningfully engaged in leading innovation and change in my authority?” I hear variations of this very important question quite often from transit chief executives in my one-on-one governance coaching sessions and educational workshops. There’s no simple answer, but the indispensable first step is to make sure you understand what’s going on in the rapidly evolving field of change planning and management. One thing for sure: traditional comprehensive, long-range “strategic” planning – for arbitrary periods like three or five years – is a blunt innovation tool. Experience has no doubt taught many if … Read the rest

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Ownership: the Fuel that Powers Significant Board Change

October 10, 2019 0 Comments

Let’s begin with a sad and all-too-familiar true tale of woe that a transit general manager recounted to me in one of our early coaching sessions. A few months earlier, he and the governance consultant he’d retained to analyze his board’s structure joined all board members in a special two-hour work session to consider a recommended new committee structure to replace the administratively-focused, narrow “silo” committees that the GM and consultant agreed were leading to rampant board micro-management. Standing at the front of the conference room, the GM and his consultant began the PowerPoint presentation describing the functions of the … Read the rest

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L A County’s Access Services’ Strategic Governing Team Explores Enriching Board Composition

September 27, 2019 0 Comments

Last week, I was privileged to facilitate a daylong “High-Impact Governing  Work Session” involving the Board of Directors, chaired by Dolores Nason, the Executive Director, Andre Colaiace, and the Executive Team of Access Services, which provides paratransit services in Los Angeles County.  One of the major topics we addressed during our day together was developing the Board’s self-management capacity.  The board self-management function, as most of our readers no doubt know, consists of two key elements:  developing the people on your board; and managing your board’s governing performance.  One of the six breakout groups we employed over the course of Read the rest

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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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