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Tag: transit board-CEO relations

The Prohibitive Cost of a Weak Board-CEO Partnership

February 7, 2019 0 Comments

Dave Stackrow and I are pleased to tell you that our forthcoming book, Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership:  A Practical Guidebook for Transit Board Members, CEOs, and CEO-Aspirants, has gone to press.  It should hit the streets in late March 2019.  The following fifth and final excerpt from our book talks about the high cost a transit authority will pay for letting the partnership between its board and CEO remain weak or deteriorate.

Your transit authority can expect to pay a high price for failing to develop a close, positive board-CEO partnership or for allowing it to deteriorate.  For … Read the rest

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Emerging New CEO Governing Model

January 7, 2019 0 Comments


The following article is excerpted from Doug Eadie and Dave Stackrow’s forthcoming book, Becoming Your Board’s Chief Governing Partner:  a Practical Guidebook for Transit CEOs and CEO-aspirants.

In our travels around the country these days, we see an increasing number of new-style public and nonprofit sector chief executives, including many in the transit industry, who you won’t find astride the fire wall vigilantly guarding against incursions by micro-managing board members.  This emerging new model of CEO leadership in the governing arena, which has no doubt emerged in reaction to the bankruptcy of the traditional view, sees the chief executive … Read the rest

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The Captain of Your Strategic Governing Team

January 3, 2019 0 Comments

The following article is excerpted from Doug Eadie and Dave Stackrow’s forthcoming book, Becoming Your Board’s Chief Governing Partner:  a Practical Guidebook for Transit CEOs and CEO-aspirants.

When a public transit board  chooses its CEO, it’s also choosing the de facto captain of the Strategic Governing Team.  Governing really is a collaborative venture, involving intensive, well-orchestrated teamwork to ensure that the decisions and judgments that constitute governing work are made in a full and timely fashion.  Your transit  board is obviously the most senior member of the Strategic Governing Team – the ultimate authority, judge and decision maker.  However, … Read the rest

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Governing Isn’t a Piece of Cake

November 27, 2018 0 Comments

As our most of you know, Dave Stackrow and I are writing a book, “Becoming Your Board’s Chief Governing Partner:  a Practical Guidebook for Transit CEOs and CEO-Aspirants.”  So you have a sense of where we’re headed with our book, we’d like to share our discussion in Chapter One of the challenges that can make developing your transit board into a really high-impact governing body a daunting endeavor.  Let us know what you think.  Are we headed in the right direction?

Transforming your public transit board into a really high-performing, high-impact governing body and building and maintaining a solid board-CEO … Read the rest

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CEO Doug Allen Keeps a Close Eye on His Preeminent Stakeholders at VRE

October 29, 2018 0 Comments

Doug Allen, Chief Executive Officer of Virginia Railway Express, doesn’t need to hear this true cautionary tale, as you’ll see from the podcast he recently recorded for this blog.

A few years ago I arrived at the administrative offices of a mid-size transit authority to meet with the CEO, who wanted to discuss my possibly helping to design and facilitate a daylong board-executive team retreat.  On the telephone the day before, he’d told me that the situation was “pretty urgent” since his relationship with the board was terribly frayed. It turned out that I’d made a wasted trip.  Ushered into Read the rest

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Aurora Jackson: A Consummate Chief Governing Relationship Manager

August 30, 2018 0 Comments

Not long ago I spent three hours with the governance committee (including the chief executive) of the board of a large senior services nonprofit, sitting as the board’s nominating committee. Faced with six vacant board seats to fill six months hence, committee members were taking the first critical step in the process: updating the profile of desirable board member attributes and qualifications that they’d be using in identifying and assessing candidates to fill the six openings. This is, as our readers no doubt know, one of the most important responsibilities of the self-appointing boards that predominate in the nonprofit sector. … Read the rest

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Developing Your Board’s Governing Capacity Isn’t a Piece of Cake

August 21, 2018 0 Comments

The last two articles posted at this blog have taken a look at the transit CEO’s “Chief Board Developer” role, which Dave Stackrow, APTA Vice Chair, and I will be examining in detail in the book we are co-authoring, Becoming Your Board’s Chief Governing Partner: a Practical Guidebook for Transit CEOs and CEO-Aspirants. Dave and I are keenly aware that there are some formidable – but by no means insurmountable – barriers you’re likely to encounter in helping your board build its governing capacity. We’ll be paying special attention to three of the more important roadblocks in our book, … Read the rest

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The CEO as Chief Board Developer: Part 2

August 16, 2018 0 Comments

The August 6 post at this blog makes the case for transit chief executives to play what I call the “Chief Board Developer” role, building the board’s capacity to do the really high-impact governing that turns board members into satisfied owners of their governing work.  As I observe in that post, your long-term success as CEO heavily depends on strong leadership from board members who own their governing role.  Two of the most powerful approaches for building your board’s governing capacity while also generating the kind of board ownership that fuels commitment to implementing the capacity building recommendations, are the … Read the rest

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The CEO as Chief Board Developer: Part 1

August 6, 2018 0 Comments

Since strong, creative board leadership is one of the preeminent keys to your transit authority’s long-term success in this changing, challenging world, board capacity building must be one of your top three CEO leadership priorities. Any CEO (and I hear this every now and then) who sits back bemoaning the board’s lackluster leadership without taking affirmative action to help the board become a higher-impact governing body is guilty of dereliction of duty – and of being less than a full-fledged CEO.

In my experience, as your authority’s CEO, you must be not just an active participant in – but also … Read the rest

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Beware of the Passive-Reactive Board

July 31, 2018 0 Comments

Over the years, a basically passive-reactive approach to governing – a model of sorts – has been passed down and has predominated – and probably still predominates – in both the for-profit and public/nonprofit sectors.   This approach – or model – sees the governing board as basically a responsive body, rather than as a generator or initiator of actions or products.  You can picture the passive-reactive board sitting at the pinnacle of the organization, waiting for staff-initiated things – policy recommendations, documents such as plans and budgets that call for adoption, briefings that require no action, etc. – to arrive, … Read the rest

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