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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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Your Mindset Can Make or Break Your Partnership With The Board

July 21, 2022 0 Comments

A staple of my one-on-one governance coaching sessions and educational workshops for transit CEOs and CEO-aspirants in recent years has been the critical role that what I call “Mindset” plays in building and maintaining a close, positive, productive and enduring board-CEO partnership.  What am I talking about?  In a nutshell, Mindset is how you, as your authority’s chief executive officer, picture yourself vis a vis your transit board.  Experience has taught me that if you bring the wrong mindset to the relationship with your board, it probably won’t matter what other partnership building steps you take (for example, reaching agreement … Read the rest

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4 Board-Savvy CEOs Discuss Preparing CEO-Aspirants to Take the Helm

June 21, 2022 0 Comments

When CEO-aspirants take the helm of a transit authority, among the stiffest challenges they face is building a solid partnership with their new board.  There is wide agreement in the field of transit governance that the single most lethal threat to a newly minted CEO’s professional success and longevity in the C-Suite  is a shaky working relationship with the board that can’t withstand the normal stresses and strains at the top.  So our readers who are CEO-aspirants – along with CEOs who are interested in fine-tuning and strengthening the partnership with their board – will want to watch the video … Read the rest

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CEO-Aspirants Need to Understand How to Protect the CEO Line of Credit

June 7, 2022 0 Comments

Over the course of my 30-plus years of work with public transit boards and their CEOs, I’ve learned that executives aspiring to take the helm of a transit authority are often woefully ill-prepared to build the kind of partnership with their new board that is critical to their success and to their longevity at the top.  Dave Stackrow and I, in our book Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership (Governance Edge 2019), discuss two major reasons for this often-professionally fatal shortcoming:  the absence of detailed, practical, experience-based courses on governance generally and board-CEO relationship building particularly in graduate schools of management; … Read the rest

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Top-Flight Performance Won’t Keep the Relationship With Your Board Healthy

May 5, 2022 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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Bagging Three Big Feathered Friends

April 14, 2022 0 Comments

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 committee through … Read the rest

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CEO Leadership on the Governance Front:  Reflections on an Emerging New Model

March 24, 2022 0 Comments

This is how the chief executive officer of a large, urban public transit system responded to my question about engaging his board in the annual budget preparation process in a one-on interview kicking off a board development project a decade ago.

“What’s the process for engaging my board members in shaping the annual budget document before taking action on it?  I’m not sure what you mean by that question.  As CEO, I’m accountable for getting a complete, carefully prepared budget to the board at least six weeks before the end of the fiscal year. My board’s accountable for doing a Read the rest

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Creating Board Development Champions

March 10, 2022 0 Comments

You might recall that a year or so ago, we posted two articles on the subject of board capacity building – what is popularly known as board development.  Our March 25, 2021 post makes the case for launching formal board development initiatives and describes the key elements of board development:  https://boardsavvytransitceo.com/solving-the-board-development-puzzle-the-what-and-the-why/ .  Our April 14, 2021 post describes two vehicles for developing your board’s governing capacity  – the daylong governance retreat and the governance task force that meets five or six times:  https://boardsavvytransitceo.com/solving-the-board-development-puzzle-the-how/.

Both vehicles have proved to be highly reliable vehicles when provided with strong executive support, but … Read the rest

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A Rock-Solid Board President-CEO Leadership Team at Work at GCRTA

March 4, 2022 0 Comments

In the video interview we recently recorded, Rev. Charles Lucas, Board President, and India Birdsong, General Manager/CEO, of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority describe the close, positive, and highly productive partnership they’ve developed.  It is indicative of a striking development in the rapidly evolving field of public transit governance:  the recognition that a really solid board chair-CEO leadership team is critical to the CEO’s success, to the authority’s performance, and to its image in the community.  GCRTA is in the vanguard of the growing number of public transit authorities led by dynamic chair-CEO duos.

This recognition is a latecomer … Read the rest

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Making the Annual Budget Preparation Process an Innovation Engine

February 8, 2022 0 Comments

I’ve never come across a CEO who wasn’t pretty much an expert in the art of annual budget preparation by the time she first takes the helm of an authority. This isn’t the least surprising when you think about it.  Climbing the professional ladder, CEO-aspirants have typically devoted hundreds of hours to preparing, reviewing, revising, and – eventually, at a senior executive level – consolidating budget requests by the time they reach the top.  These newly minted chief executive officers understand how to capitalize on the budget preparation process as a highly effective and reliable vehicle for exerting management control. … Read the rest

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The Compelling Case for a Strong Board External/Stakeholder Relations Committee

February 1, 2022 0 Comments

“Incredible.  We must be talking about 40 or more stakeholders.”  This was one of the responses to the question I asked in the daylong governance work session I was facilitating, after the  breakout group dealing with stakeholder relations had completed its report in plenary session.  The group had made a list of critical stakeholders  – defined as external organizations with which it made sense for the transit authority to maintain a relationship because something important was at stake – and then identified strengths and weaknesses in each of what appeared to be the ten highest-stakes relationships.  The question I had … Read the rest

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