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Board-CEO Involvement in Innovation/Change Management

Board Chair Trudy Bartley and President/CEO Joanna Pinkerton on Breaking the Traditional CEO Mold at COTA

June 27, 2019 0 Comments

This article and the accompanying podcast featuring Trudy Bartley, Chair of the COTA Board of Trustees, and Joanna Pinkerton, COTA President/CEO, was originally published in 2018.  Since CEO leadership and structuring the CEO function are really hot topics among public transit leaders and this post and podcast have attracted tremendous attention, it seemed appropriate to bring them to the attention of our readers a year later.  Doug Eadie

Traditionally, at the top of the list of qualifications public transit boards specify when recruiting candidates for the CEO position is in-depth operational experience.  So it’s no surprise that over the years … Read the rest

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The Creativity-Innovation Nexus: Part One of Our Creativity Series

May 23, 2019 0 Comments

The innovation process – and the role of the chief executive as your authority’s “Chief Innovation Officer” – has been a major focus of this blog, and several posts have featured real-life cases of successful implementation of significant innovation initiatives. Our focus on innovation makes the best of sense in light of the challenges facing all transit authorities and other public/nonprofit organizations in these times of rapid change. Building your authority’s capacity to innovate is the key to future stability and growth, and standing pat, clinging to the present, is a sure-fire recipe for decline.

Up to now, our posts … Read the rest

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Comet CEO John Andoh Wearing the Innovator-in-Chief Hat

April 1, 2019 0 Comments

Experience has taught me that successfully implementing significant out of the box change initiatives depends on the strong leadership of a chief executive officer wearing what I call the “Innovator-in-Chief” hat. CEOs I’ve observed over the years succeed at the Innovator-in-Chief role have without exception been what I think of as “change-savvy.” This means that:

They’ve been technically very knowledgeable about best practices in the rapidly changing area of change planning and management, which means they haven’t been wedded to conventional planning wisdom and out-of-date approaches. You’ll never hear a change-savvy CEO extolling the virtues of traditional long-range (or “strategic”) … Read the rest

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What Makes Women Such Effective Board Members?

March 27, 2019 0 Comments

Earlier today, I interviewed John Andoh, Executive Director/CEO of the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (the Comet),  for a podcast about a number of innovative mobility initiatives launched in the Columbia, South Carolina region on his watch.   As we were recording the podcast, I was reminded of the following article, which Karen Philbrick, Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute, wrote for this blog almost three years ago.  There’s no question that, as Karen points out, a growing number of women serving on boards have added a large dollop of creativity to the governing process , and as we all Read the rest

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GM Jeff Knueppel Walks the Employee Engagement Talk at SEPTA

February 4, 2019 0 Comments

Early in my career I experienced at close range a CEO not walking his talk.  I was serving as chief of staff to the president of a large three-campus community college.  With the urging of his board’s officers, my boss decided that he needed to focus far more heavily on the institution’s external agenda – specifically, on building close working relationships with the chief executives of critical stakeholder organizations like the community foundation and neighboring universities.  So, as a strategy to buy precious time for his expanded external role, the president tapped his executive vice president to become the college’s … Read the rest

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METRO’s CEO Tom Lambert: Consummate Innovator-in-Chief

January 23, 2019 0 Comments

The podcast that Tom Lambert, President & CEO of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, recorded for this blog describes METRO’s new Office of Innovation, which has proved to be a very effective generator of “out of the box” change initiatives. Reporting directly to Tom, the Office isn’t a traditional planning organization. Rather, it fosters, nurtures and pilot tests practical innovation projects in partnership with internal operational units and with external stakeholder organizations. As Tom points out, the success of the office owes much to a highly supportive METRO Board of Directors that accepts that while most initiatives will … Read the rest

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Board Chair Trudy Bartley and CEO Joanna Pinkerton on Breaking the Traditional CEO Mold at COTA

November 1, 2018 0 Comments

Traditionally, at the top of the list of qualifications public transit boards specify when recruiting candidates for the CEO position is in-depth operational experience.  So it’s no surprise that over the years the great majority of vacant CEO positions have been filled with executives who have worked their way up the operational ladder in one or more transit authorities.  This operational bias is easily understandable.  Even small to medium-sized transit authorities are incredibly complex organizations – both operationally and technically – and it’s only natural to want an executive in the top spot who can keep the buses and trains … Read the rest

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Donna DeMartino: Playing the Chief Innovation Officer Role With Gusto at San Joaquin RTD

September 19, 2018 0 Comments

Over the past quarter-century I’ve learned that the public transportation authorities that are really good at getting significant, out of the box innovation and change accomplished are invariably led by a CEO who is passionately committed to playing – and well prepared to play – what I call the Chief Innovation Officer role.  The CEO is the only person in your authority who can wear the Chief Innovation Officer 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 innovation effort and … Read the rest

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CEO Dave Genova on Getting Stakeholder Engagement Right at RTD-Denver

June 29, 2018 0 Comments

You’ll recall that in earlier posts at this blog we’ve defined “stakeholders” as individuals, groups, and organizations it makes sense to build and maintain relationships with because something important is at stake.  For example, the office of the mayor and board of county commissioners in your region are always primo stakeholders whose political – and often financial – support are tremendously important to your authority.  Over my 30 years of work with public transit CEOs and their boards I’ve come across more than one case of poorly planned and managed stakeholder engagement.  This is really unfortunate since the support of … Read the rest

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CEO Brad Miller’s Podcast on Tweaking PSTA’s Business Model

June 8, 2018 0 Comments

In a rapidly changing environment, one of the preeminent keys to making sure your authority thrives and grows is for you, as your authority’s CEO, to take the lead in updating its business model, wearing what I call the “Innovator-in-Chief” hat.  Therefore, I’m pleased to share the fourth podcast in this blog’s ongoing series on public transit business model updating, featuring Brad Miller, Chief Executive Officer of Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, who describes mobility on demand initiatives launched on his watch.  After listening to Brad’s highly informative podcast, you might want to take a look at one or more of … Read the rest

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