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King Richard III:  A Case For Aggressive Image Building

March 10, 2021 0 Comments

And therefore since I cannot prove a lover to entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days.  Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous….

Ah, King Richard III:   how we love to hate him, how we shiver at his delicious villainy!  He was Duke of Gloucester when William Shakespeare put these words in his mouth in the monologue that opens his riveting “The Tragedy of King Richard the Third,” and in the play Richard soon murders his way to the throne of England, his most infamous victims being his … Read the rest

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CEO-Centric Leadership Targets Are Key to a Solid Board-Chief Executive Partnership

March 2, 2021 0 Comments

Around fifteen years ago I was retained to facilitate  a half-day work session involving a transit board and its CEO.  In our initial call to discuss the work session objectives, the board chair and  CEO agreed that there was one preeminent objective:  repairing a badly frayed board-CEO  partnership that, in their estimation, was dangerously close to the breaking point.  The  one-on-one interviews I conducted with all fifteen board members and the CEO as part of  my preparation for the event indicated a startling and dangerous divergence of opinion.  Nine of the board members strongly believed  that their CEO’s top leadership … 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 Zoom Muzzle Syndrome Redux

November 30, 2020 0 Comments

My August 6 post at this blog, “Combatting the Zoom Muzzle Syndrome (ZMS),” begins by pointing out that Zoom has proved to be a very effective vehicle for holding virtual work sessions at which participants can reach consensus on complex matters, such as an updated board committee structure, without exposing them to Covid-19.  I go on to say, however, that generating intense participant engagement in addressing really complex issues – the kind of participation characterized by robust discussion and really critical questioning – has proved to be a real challenge when employing Zoom video conferencing.   As I say in that … 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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Don’t Unwittingly Turn Your Board Members Into Victims of Poorly Designed Structure and Process

October 15, 2020 0 Comments

A transit CEO  called me not long ago, asking if I’d be interested in presenting a governance training workshop for his transit board.  He explained that several board members were coming dangerously close to “micro-managing,” and he wanted them to understand the boundaries between “executive” and “governing” work.  The example he gave involved a discussion at the most recent board meeting about travel expenditures over the past six months, including how decisions were made about who would be taking what trips and what kinds of reports were required about travel.

I agreed that there did appear to be some micro-managing … Read the rest

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Board Spear Carriers:  Protecting the CEO’s Line of Credit

September 28, 2020 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 new 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 … 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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