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Board-CEO Relationship

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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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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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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What’s in Your Board Chair’s Compensation Package?

January 19, 2022 0 Comments

I’ll never forget walking into a transit authority’s board room several years ago. I found the board chair – a highly influential attorney – fuming.  When I asked what was wrong, he handed me a clipping from the community affairs section of the local paper, saying “read this and you’ll see.”  The piece was a glowing review of the authority’s new agreement with the local three-campus community college system – providing frequent, convenient bus service to students.  I couldn’t see what the problem was until I got near the end of the piece, when I read a long quote from … Read the rest

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How Transit CEO-Aspirants Can Demonstrate Board-Savviness to Search Committees

December 8, 2021 0 Comments

A major ongoing theme of www.boardsavvytransitceo.com has been preparing executive team members who are what we call CEO-aspirants to build productive, enduring partnerships with their new board.  As our readers well know, a shaky board-CEO working relationship is virtually certain to dramatically shorten a CEO’s tenure if it persists.  Well-designed training programs can be helpful in preparing CEO-aspirants  to meet the partnership building challenge once they take the helm.  However. in my professional opinion no one is better positioned to transform  executives into board-savvy CEO-aspirants than the CEO herself, wearing her mentoring hat.   You’ll recall that our November 4 post … Read the rest

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WeGo Public Transit’s Steve Bland:  A Consummate Board-Savvy CEO in Action

October 26, 2021 0 Comments

As you’ll learn from the video interview I recently recorded with Steve Bland, Chief Executive Officer of WeGo Public Transit in Nashville, Steve is a veritable master of the high-stakes, tremendously complex, and rapidly evolving field of public transit governance.  Over the course of his quarter-century at the helm of four transit authorities, Steve has demonstrated that he’s in the forefront of a growing number of transit CEOs who make governance – particularly the partnership with their board – a top tier chief executive priority.  These really “board-savvy” transit CEOs are firmly committed to strong board leadership that goes well … Read the rest

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Joanna M. Pinkerton Leads a Panel Discussion on “Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership”

June 21, 2021 0 Comments

I’m pleased to share the new video interview that our colleague Joanna M. Pinkerton, President/CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), recently recorded for www.boardsavvytransitceo.com.  Joanna leads a panel discussion on my and Dave Stackrow’s new book, Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership: A Practical Guidebook for Transit Board Members, CEOs, and CEO-Aspirants. The panelists are Jeff Arndt, President and CEO, VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority (San Antonio); Steve Bland, CEO of Nashville MTA; and Nat Ford, CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. After I describe the book’s intended audience and takeaways, and explain why Dave and I wrote the … Read the rest

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