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Tag: transit board development

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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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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Turning Your Board Into a Cohesive Governing Team: Part 2

July 17, 2018 0 Comments

As I noted in last week’s post at this blog, turning transit boards into really cohesive governing teams is no piece of cake, primarily because the great majority of transit board members are appointed by elected officials.  In practice this means that many if not most transit board members feel as – if not more – accountable to their appointing authorities than to their board colleagues.  Now matter how stiff the challenge, however, board-savvy transit CEOs know that they’ve got no choice but to help their boards become more effective governing teams for two main reasons.  First, teamwork is one … Read the rest

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Turning Your Board Into a Cohesive Governing Team: Part 1

July 10, 2018 0 Comments

Teamwork in the abstract is neither here nor there for public transit boards. The only serious reason for developing your board’s teamwork is to help it function as a more effective governing body that gets its governing work done more effectively and efficiently. The acid test of an effective team is its productivity in accomplishing its assigned tasks. Productive teams are also generally characterized by a high level of cooperation and coordination in getting their work done, harmonious relations among team members, the absence of debilitating conflicts, and the capacity to withstand considerable stress and strain without falling apart. You … 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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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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