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Board Capacity Building

Getting Your New Board Committees Off on the Right Foot

August 23, 2019 0 Comments

Whether newly created board standing committees find their sea legs early in their existence and are soon firmly established depends heavily on two factors: the board chair’s appointment of the right board members to chair the new committees; and the CEO’s designation of an executive team member to serve as Chief Staff Liaison to each committee.

Once the new committees have effectively functioned for a year, the appointment of committee chairs is a more routine matter, but choosing the right first chairs for the new committees will be critical to their success as your board’s “governing engines.” Experience has taught … Read the rest

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

June 19, 2019 0 Comments

Last week’s post at this blog talked about tried and true approaches to reining in “rogue” board members. I defined them as “trouble makers who march to their own governing tune at their own tempo, with little concern about the impact on their board colleagues” and observed that 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, according to last week’s post, is fully developing … Read the rest

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Successfully Reining in Rogue Board Members

June 10, 2019 0 Comments

“What can we do about rogue board members?”  I’ve heard this question countless times over the years in governance workshops I’ve presented at APTA meetings, most recently the CEOs Seminar in Chicago a couple of months ago.  Rogues, as you know, 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.  I always preface my response to this predictable … Read the rest

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Don’t Let Silo Committees Trap You and Your Board Members

May 17, 2019 0 Comments

I spent a couple of hours with Board and Executive Team members of the Chatham Area Transit Authority (CAT, headquartered in Savannah, Georgia) in a special work session earlier this week.  We were reviewing the functional descriptions of four new Board standing committees being recommended by the Board’s “High-Impact Governing Steering Committee,” following up on a daylong retreat in February:  Strategic and Operational Planning; Performance Monitoring/Audit; External/Stakeholder Relations; and Governance.

At the February retreat we’d discussed the benefits of well-designed committees, including:

  • Dividing the highly complex and demanding work of governing into “chewable chunks,” making more in-depth deliberations possible and
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Developing Your Board’s Governing Capacity Isn’t a Piece of Cake

August 21, 2018 0 Comments

The last two articles posted at this blog have taken a look at the transit CEO’s “Chief Board Developer” role, which Dave Stackrow, APTA Vice Chair, and I will be examining in detail in the book we are co-authoring, Becoming Your Board’s Chief Governing Partner: a Practical Guidebook for Transit CEOs and CEO-Aspirants. Dave and I are keenly aware that there are some formidable – but by no means insurmountable – barriers you’re likely to encounter in helping your board build its governing capacity. We’ll be paying special attention to three of the more important roadblocks in our book, … Read the rest

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The CEO as Chief Board Developer: Part 2

August 16, 2018 0 Comments

The August 6 post at this blog makes the case for transit chief executives to play what I call the “Chief Board Developer” role, building the board’s capacity to do the really high-impact governing that turns board members into satisfied owners of their governing work.  As I observe in that post, your long-term success as CEO heavily depends on strong leadership from board members who own their governing role.  Two of the most powerful approaches for building your board’s governing capacity while also generating the kind of board ownership that fuels commitment to implementing the capacity building recommendations, are the … Read the rest

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The CEO as Chief Board Developer: Part 1

August 6, 2018 0 Comments

Since strong, creative board leadership is one of the preeminent keys to your transit authority’s long-term success in this changing, challenging world, board capacity building must be one of your top three CEO leadership priorities. Any CEO (and I hear this every now and then) who sits back bemoaning the board’s lackluster leadership without taking affirmative action to help the board become a higher-impact governing body is guilty of dereliction of duty – and of being less than a full-fledged CEO.

In my experience, as your authority’s CEO, you must be not just an active participant in – but also … Read the rest

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Turning Your Board Into a Cohesive Governing Team: Part 2

July 17, 2018 0 Comments

As I noted in last week’s post at this blog, turning transit boards into really cohesive governing teams is no piece of cake, primarily because the great majority of transit board members are appointed by elected officials.  In practice this means that many if not most transit board members feel as – if not more – accountable to their appointing authorities than to their board colleagues.  Now matter how stiff the challenge, however, board-savvy transit CEOs know that they’ve got no choice but to help their boards become more effective governing teams for two main reasons.  First, teamwork is one … Read the rest

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Turning Your Board Into a Cohesive Governing Team: Part 1

July 10, 2018 0 Comments

Teamwork in the abstract is neither here nor there for public transit boards. The only serious reason for developing your board’s teamwork is to help it function as a more effective governing body that gets its governing work done more effectively and efficiently. The acid test of an effective team is its productivity in accomplishing its assigned tasks. Productive teams are also generally characterized by a high level of cooperation and coordination in getting their work done, harmonious relations among team members, the absence of debilitating conflicts, and the capacity to withstand considerable stress and strain without falling apart. You … Read the rest

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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

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