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Tag: transit board leadership

Energizer-in-Chief Redux:  Stakeholder Relationship Management

April 8, 2020 0 Comments

“Incredible.  We must be talking about 40 or more stakeholders.”  This was one of the responses to the question I asked in the daylong governance work session I was facilitating, after the  breakout group dealing with stakeholder relations had completed its report in plenary session.  The group had made a list of critical stakeholders  – defined as external organizations with which it made sense for the transit authority to maintain a relationship because something important was at stake – and then identified strengths and weaknesses in each of what appeared to be the ten highest-stakes relationships.  The question I had … Read the rest

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CEO Evaluation: a Potentially Powerful Relationship Adhesive

March 9, 2020 0 Comments

At a daylong “High-Impact Governing Work Session” last fall, the board, executive director/CEO and executive team of Access Services in Los Angeles County spent around 1 ½ hours  discussing practical ways to cement the executive director’s working relationship with his board.  One of the relationship building tools the group closely examined was board evaluation of the executive director’s performance.  But they didn’t mean one of those highly subjective and essentially meaningless questionnaires that board members often individually fill out in the privacy of their own offices.

These questionnaires miss the point by having board members assess their CEO’s functional excellence … Read the rest

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The Engine Powering Your Transit Authority’s Governing Machine

January 21, 2020 0 Comments

Over the years I’ve often heard transit boards described as “policy-making bodies,” which doesn’t begin to convey the complexity of governing work.  It makes more sense to think about your authority’s board as a kind of governing machine that continuously produces governing decisions about such governing “products” as your authority’s updated values and vision statements, the new strategic plan, and next year’s operating plan and budget.  Your governing machine also produces a steady stream of governing judgments answering the classic governing question, “How are we doing? – on the basis of such information as your authority’s monthly or quarterly operational … Read the rest

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L A County’s Access Services’ Strategic Governing Team Explores Enriching Board Composition

September 27, 2019 0 Comments

Last week, I was privileged to facilitate a daylong “High-Impact Governing  Work Session” involving the Board of Directors, chaired by Dolores Nason, the Executive Director, Andre Colaiace, and the Executive Team of Access Services, which provides paratransit services in Los Angeles County.  One of the major topics we addressed during our day together was developing the Board’s self-management capacity.  The board self-management function, as most of our readers no doubt know, consists of two key elements:  developing the people on your board; and managing your board’s governing performance.  One of the six breakout groups we employed over the course of Read the rest

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Getting Your New Board Committees Off on the Right Foot

August 23, 2019 0 Comments

Whether newly created board standing committees find their sea legs early in their existence and are soon firmly established depends heavily on two factors: the board chair’s appointment of the right board members to chair the new committees; and the CEO’s designation of an executive team member to serve as Chief Staff Liaison to each committee.

Once the new committees have effectively functioned for a year, the appointment of committee chairs is a more routine matter, but choosing the right first chairs for the new committees will be critical to their success as your board’s “governing engines.” Experience has taught … Read the rest

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David Stackrow: Transit Volunteer Extraordinaire

July 3, 2019 0 Comments

By virtue of his or her highly visible and influential position as “CEO” of the board, a chair can . . .play a leading role in educating board colleagues on advances in the field of transit governance and building their appetite for board capacity building;  champion the cause of board development, cooperating with the CEO in leading the process of updating the board’s governing role, structure, and processes; help to facilitate board-CEO interaction, fostering mutual understanding; and support the CEO’s executive leadership initiatives both internally and in the wider community.

This excerpt from Chapter Three of my and David Stackrow’s … Read the rest

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Board Chair Trudy Bartley and President/CEO Joanna Pinkerton on Breaking the Traditional CEO Mold at COTA

June 27, 2019 0 Comments

This article and the accompanying podcast featuring Trudy Bartley, Chair of the COTA Board of Trustees, and Joanna Pinkerton, COTA President/CEO, was originally published in 2018.  Since CEO leadership and structuring the CEO function are really hot topics among public transit leaders and this post and podcast have attracted tremendous attention, it seemed appropriate to bring them to the attention of our readers a year later.  Doug Eadie

Traditionally, at the top of the list of qualifications public transit boards specify when recruiting candidates for the CEO position is in-depth operational experience.  So it’s no surprise that over the years … Read the rest

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Successfully Reining in Rogue Board Members

June 10, 2019 0 Comments

“What can we do about rogue board members?”  I’ve heard this question countless times over the years in governance workshops I’ve presented at APTA meetings, most recently the CEOs Seminar in Chicago a couple of months ago.  Rogues, as you know, are trouble makers who march to their own governing tune at their own tempo, with little concern about the impact on their board colleagues.  Their behavior can erode a board’s governing performance and poison a board’s culture, while in the process occasionally even tarnishing a transit authority’s  image in the community.  I always preface my response to this predictable … Read the rest

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Don’t Let Silo Committees Trap You and Your Board Members

May 17, 2019 0 Comments

I spent a couple of hours with Board and Executive Team members of the Chatham Area Transit Authority (CAT, headquartered in Savannah, Georgia) in a special work session earlier this week.  We were reviewing the functional descriptions of four new Board standing committees being recommended by the Board’s “High-Impact Governing Steering Committee,” following up on a daylong retreat in February:  Strategic and Operational Planning; Performance Monitoring/Audit; External/Stakeholder Relations; and Governance.

At the February retreat we’d discussed the benefits of well-designed committees, including:

  • Dividing the highly complex and demanding work of governing into “chewable chunks,” making more in-depth deliberations possible and
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Board Evaluation of CEO Performance Can Be a Powerful Relationship Builder

April 24, 2019 0 Comments

Dave Stackrow and I weren’t able to cover the segment on board evaluation of CEO performance because we chose to leave more time for the CEO panel following our presentation at APTA’s CEOs Seminar on April 14.  Since it’s such a critical subject, which we address in our new book, Building a Solid Board-CEO Partnership:  A Practical Guidebook for Transit Board Members, CEOs, and CEO-Aspirants (https://boardsavvytransitceo.com/building-a-solid-board-ceo-partnership/), we decided to share some of the key points that we make in the book in this post.

Experience has taught us that a well-designed process for board evaluation of CEO performance … Read the rest

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