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Board-CEO Involvement in Innovation/Change Management

Traveling the Road Less Traveled:  a Conversation with Change Master Ben Limmer

September 22, 2020 0 Comments

In my book Leading Out-of-the-Box Change (Governance Edge, 2012), I call really significant, self-planned and self-managed innovation and change a “road less traveled,” observing that it “is not only extraordinarily difficult to accomplish, it’s also the distinct exception to the rule.”  One of the most important potholes you can expect to encounter on this little-traveled road has disrupted many more than one change journey:  the very natural and virtually inevitable human resistance to change.  Indeed, my long experience working with nonprofit and public organizations has taught me that the psychological – often viscerally emotional – resistance to   change tends to … Read the rest

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Combatting the Zoom Muzzle Syndrome (ZMS)

August 6, 2020 0 Comments

Since mid-March of this year I’ve participated – wearing my governance counsel hat – in numerous virtual work sessions of client governing boards and standing committees, employing the popular Zoom video conferencing platform.  Zooming has made it possible for my clients to reach consensus on a wide range of governance improvement initiatives, such as putting in place updated board committee structures and processes to build and maintain a healthy board-CEO partnership.  There’s no question Zoom is a blessing, enabling my clients to significantly strengthen their governing structures and processes without exposing their board and executive team members to Covid-19.  But … Read the rest

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Foothill Transit’s Doran Barnes:  Energizer-in-Chief Extraordinaire

May 4, 2020 0 Comments

Our readers will recall that the March 31 post at this blog, “Crises Demand Energizers-in-Chief at All Levels” (https://boardsavvytransitceo.com/crises-demand-energizers-in-chief-at-all-levels/), describes chief executives who wear the Energizer-in-Chief hat in tackling the twin challenges of education and inspiration during crises such as Covid 19.  “On the one hand,” the March 31 post explains, “people naturally hunger for explanation and explication.  They crave understanding: of the forces at work in the crisis, and of the extent of the danger they are in.  On the other, they crave hope – that resolute, capable leadership will bring the ordeal to an end.”

You’ll … 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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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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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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