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CEO Professional Growth

Thoughts on True Humility and Senator John McCain

September 17, 2018 0 Comments

The following article originally appeared at www.extraordinaryceo.com.

Thinking about Senator John McCain this morning – along with millions of my fellow Americans and admirers around the world – reminded me of the critical role that character plays in leadership. Whether one agreed with Senator McCain on one issue or another, I’m sure the overwhelming majority of Americans considered the Senator from Arizona a man of sterling character. One aspect of the late Senator’s character that he shared with other illustrious leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, is what I call “true humility” in my book on leading change, Changing By DesignRead the rest

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VIA’s Jeff Arndt: Connecter-in-Chief Extraordinaire

July 26, 2018 0 Comments

There’s wide agreement in the for-profit sector that CEOs should be actively engaged in the external arena – building their enterprises’ image and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders.  In fact, many for-profit CEOs have testified that they routinely spend more than 50 percent of their time dealing with external matters, which is one of the most important reasons why the CEO-COO (chief operating officer) structure is so widely employed.  If you’re committed to being your organization’s Ms. Outside, then it makes good sense to put a Mr. Inside in place to ensure that the shop runs smoothly in your absence.… Read the rest

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The CEO-COO Partnership: Powerful Benefits But a Real Challenge to Make It Work

May 2, 2018 0 Comments

A two-person executive office consisting of a chief executive officer who focuses on the relationship with the board, strategic planning, and external/stakeholder relations, and a chief operating officer (COO) who oversees all internal operations, is a staple in the for-profit sector. And these days I’m seeing the configuration more frequently in larger public and nonprofit corporations where several senior executives once reported directly to the CEO. There’s a pretty compelling reason for adopting this executive management structure: freeing up the CEO to focus upward and outward – interacting intensively with her board of directors, promoting her organization’s image in the … Read the rest

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It’s Never Been Easier to Publish Your Own Book, So Go For It!

February 22, 2018 0 Comments

“Have you thought about publishing your own books?” No I hadn’t, and, to be honest, the question took me aback when I heard it a decade ago.  I was chatting with a long-time colleague, Tom Berger, about the new book I was about to start writing.  Tom and I had gotten to know each other years earlier at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, where we worked closely together – I as chief of staff to the president and Tom as director of public relations.  Tom asked his provocative question right after I’d given him my nutshell description of the … Read the rest

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Nat Ford on Hitting the Ground Running As a New CEO

October 5, 2017 1 Comment

You’ve got to bring incredible passion to survive and thrive at the 24/7 job of heading a public transportation authority. If you don’t, there’s a clear and present danger the inevitable pressures will wear you down and dangerously dull your effectiveness.  This is one of several gems of practical wisdom that Nat Ford, Chief Executive Officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and former CEO of Atlanta’s MARTA and San Francisco’s SFMTA, shares in his thoughtful new podcast for boardsavvytransitceo.com.  One of Nat’s preeminent professional passions – sure to be one of his top leadership priorities as APTA’s new Chair – … Read the rest

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COTA’s CEO Curtis Stitt Reflects on Chief Executive Leadership

August 25, 2017 0 Comments

Not long into my first in-depth conversation with Curtis Stitt, I realized that I was in the company of an uncommonly thoughtful CEO who was a deeply serious, passionate student of board and chief executive leadership.  And I knew that I’d lucked out in having the opportunity to work closely with Curtis on the governance front before his upcoming retirement as President & CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), which serves over 1.2 million residents in the Greater Columbus, Ohio region.   Having closely observed       Curtis in action over the past few months, I was delighted when he agreed … Read the rest

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The Chief of Staff Alternative To a Chief Operating Officer

July 7, 2017 0 Comments

The May 19 post at this blog explored the CEO-chief operating officer leadership structure, which has proved very effective in freeing up CEO time for direct interaction with the governing board and with key external stakeholders, while ensuring adequate attention to internal operations. However, dividing the chief executive office into a CEO and a COO is not a viable option for many  nonprofit and public organizations, either because the CEO directly supervises too few executives to justify a COO or the organization’s culture militates against the CEO-COO structure.  If your transit authority falls into one of these categories, you might … Read the rest

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Have You Considered Adding a Chief Operating Officer To Your Executive Team?

May 19, 2017 0 Comments

A two-person executive office consisting of a chief executive officer who focuses on the relationship with the board, strategic planning, and external/stakeholder relations, and a chief operating officer (COO) who oversees all internal operations, is a staple in the for-profit sector. And these days I’m seeing the configuration more frequently in larger public and nonprofit corporations where several senior executives once reported directly to the CEO.  There’s a pretty compelling reason for adopting this executive management structure:  freeing up the CEO to focus upward and outward – interacting intensively with her board of directors, promoting her organization’s image in the … Read the rest

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Six Hats that Extraordinary Transit CEOs Wear

January 25, 2017 0 Comments

As part of my transit and nonprofit CEO coaching work over the past several years, I’ve developed six “hats” that – in my experience – really extraordinary chief executives wear.  These roles have proved to be a very useful framework for taking chief executive leadership to the next level.  I’ll be really interested in hearing from readers about their views on the work that extraordinary leaders do.  Here are the six “hats:”

  • Chief Board Governing Partner:  taking the lead in helping the board build its governing capacity and building and maintaining a close, positive, and productive board-CEO partnership that
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Two Extraordinary CEOs Still Traveling the Continuous Leadership Improvement Road

March 23, 2016 0 Comments

Over the quarter-century I’ve been working with public and nonprofit chief executive officers, I’ve noticed that the ones who are really extraordinary leaders – whose leadership makes a tremendous positive difference over the long run – never rest on their laurels.  Traveling the executive self-improvement road helped them reach the top of their profession, but once they’ve taken the helm, they remain just as dedicated to sharpening their leadership skills.  This makes practical good sense since circumstances – and hence leadership challenges – are constantly changing, and their growing self-awareness helps them surface new opportunities for professional growth.

Certainly the … Read the rest

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