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Board-CEO Involvement in Innovation/Change Management

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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SEPTA’s Leslie Richards:  Passionate Out of the Box Innovator-in-Chief

December 18, 2021 0 Comments

What I call “out of the box” innovation is the road less traveled for many if not most public and nonprofit organizations for a number reasons.  Out of the box innovation focuses on addressing issues – change challenges in the form of both problem and opportunities – that force an organization outside the “box” of its current mission and operating plan/budget.   Perhaps the most formidable barrier making this kind of innovation the exception to the rule is the very normal human resistance to significant change.  But a close second is the absence of really strong, hands-on chief executive leadership.  I’ve … 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 1, 2021 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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Beware of the Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome

February 20, 2021 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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CEO Andre Colaiace on Access Services Innovation in Response to Covid-19

February 8, 2021 0 Comments

In my experience, significant, well-planned, and capably executed organizational change is the exception to the rule, for a number of reasons, perhaps most importantly the normal human resistance to changing.  Well, I’m pleased to report that Access Services in Los Angeles County has beat the odds.

When you watch Andre Colaiace, Executive Director of Access Services,  describe the safety and service innovations Access has implemented in response to Covid-19 in the video interview I recorded with him recently, you’ll understand why Andre has been such a successful Innovator-in-Chief at the helm of Access Services.  Four keys to effective change leadership … Read the rest

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The Change Investment Portfolio:  A Practical Tool For Transformational Change Leaders

November 12, 2020 0 Comments

The November 6 post at this blog features Andre Colaiace, Executive Director of Access Services in Los Angeles County, CA, as a prime example of a new-style chief executive:  the Transformational Change Leader.  The post describes 5 key attributes of CEOs who succeed at leading transformative change, including being “laser-focused” on very concrete change initiatives that are the polar opposite of the “Christmas list” of goals found in traditional long-range strategic planning tomes.

My and David Stackrow’s book Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership (www.governanceedge.com) describes a very powerful change-focused planning logic and methodology that have been developed and … Read the rest

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Access Services’ Andre Colaiace:  Transformational Change Leader Extraordinaire

November 6, 2020 0 Comments

Andre Colaiace, Executive Director of Access Services in Los Angeles County, CA, and a member of this blog’s CEO Advisory Committee, is a prime example of a new breed of public/nonprofit chief executive officers I’m encountering with increasing frequency around the country:  the Transformational Change Leader.  In a nutshell, the Transformational Change Leader spearheads one or more significant innovation initiatives that transform the organization she or he leads, making a substantial, lasting difference, in terms of organizational impact and, often, culture.  In Andre’s case,  his chosen innovation initiative was the transformation of Access Services’ governance function, primarily by updating the … Read the rest

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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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