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CEO Dave Genova on Getting Stakeholder Engagement Right at RTD-Denver

June 29, 2018 0 Comments

You’ll recall that in earlier posts at this blog we’ve defined “stakeholders” as individuals, groups, and organizations it makes sense to build and maintain relationships with because something important is at stake.  For example, the office of the mayor and board of county commissioners in your region are always primo stakeholders whose political – and often financial – support are tremendously important to your authority.  Over my 30 years of work with public transit CEOs and their boards I’ve come across more than one case of poorly planned and managed stakeholder engagement.  This is really unfortunate since the support of … Read the rest

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Cementing the Partnership With Your Board

June 19, 2018 0 Comments

This post has been adapted from an article that originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of the Association Forum’s “CEOnly Newsletter.”  It is reprinted here with the Forum’s permission.

Satisfied Owners Make Better Partners

Thirty years of working with public and nonprofit boards of all shapes and sizes and their chief executives  have taught me that your long-term success and professional longevity as CEO of your transit authority have more to do with maintaining a healthy partnership with your board than any other factor.  I’ve also learned that even if your transit authority is thriving in terms of operational … Read the rest

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CEO Brad Miller’s Podcast on Tweaking PSTA’s Business Model

June 8, 2018 0 Comments

In a rapidly changing environment, one of the preeminent keys to making sure your authority thrives and grows is for you, as your authority’s CEO, to take the lead in updating its business model, wearing what I call the “Innovator-in-Chief” hat.  Therefore, I’m pleased to share the fourth podcast in this blog’s ongoing series on public transit business model updating, featuring Brad Miller, Chief Executive Officer of Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, who describes mobility on demand initiatives launched on his watch.  After listening to Brad’s highly informative podcast, you might want to take a look at one or more of … Read the rest

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A Critical CEO Challenge: Updating Your Authority’s Business Model

May 21, 2018 0 Comments

According to APTA Chair Nat Ford and CEO Paul Skoutelas in the podcast featured in the March 14 post at this blog (https://boardsavvytransitceo.com/aptas-dynamic-leadership-duo-takes-mobility-management-issue/), local transportation authorities must make a stark choice in this time of dramatic, continuous change, in terms not only of communication and transportation technologies, but also of changing customer needs and preferences.  They can be aggressively opportunistic:   embracing and capitalizing on the opportunities that a tumultuous environment offers by playing the preeminent leadership role in their communities in partnership and network building that brings together various transportation modes (ride sourcing; car sharing; bike sharing; train … Read the rest

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Turning Board Evaluation of the CEO Into a More Powerful Relationship Building Tool

May 11, 2018 0 Comments

“But won’t I be inviting my board members into my business and leaving myself open to the kind of micro-management that can really disrupt my work?” This is what I heard from the GM of a mid-size transportation authority during our recent discussion over lunch of the process her board might use to assess her work. We’d agreed that a well-designed annual GM evaluation process was one of the most important vehicles for keeping her working relationship with the board healthy. And we’d also agreed that an objective evaluation process should heavily focus on the authority’s overall performance in terms … 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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Don’t Forget Your Board Chair’s Paycheck

April 19, 2018 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 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 the … Read the rest

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Don’t Allow Yourself to Get Caught in the “Policy Governance” Trap

April 10, 2018 0 Comments

A year or so ago, I got a call from a transit CEO desperate for help.  The year before, he explained, his board had adopted a “policy governance manual,” spelling out the roles and responsibilities of the board and CEO and making clear the limits on both board and executive authority.  For example, the manual specified that the CEO could sign consulting services contracts up to a maximum of $25,000, above which board approval was required, that the CEO was responsible for preparing the annual operating plan and budget, while the board was responsible for reviewing and adopting the plan … Read the rest

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Don’t Emulate Poor Richard III: Protect Your Authority’s Image

April 2, 2018 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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How To Make Financial Reporting a High-Powered Relationship Building and PR Tool

March 29, 2018 0 Comments

Let me tell you a tale of two authorities’ very different approaches to presenting financial performance reports at their monthly board meetings.  Authority A takes a pretty traditional approach.  The authority’s CFO thoroughly reviews the multi-page financial report, consisting of rows and columns of numbers, with the board’s finance committee, which passes the report along to the full board in the monthly board meeting packet.  The CFO presents highlights from the report at the full board meeting and answers any questions the board might have.

Authority B’s approach is dramatically different.  The CFO takes the board’s performance monitoring committee through … Read the rest

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