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Tag: transit innovation

Making the Annual Budget Preparation Process an Innovation Engine

February 8, 2022 0 Comments

I’ve never come across a CEO who wasn’t pretty much an expert in the art of annual budget preparation by the time she first takes the helm of an authority. This isn’t the least surprising when you think about it.  Climbing the professional ladder, CEO-aspirants have typically devoted hundreds of hours to preparing, reviewing, revising, and – eventually, at a senior executive level – consolidating budget requests by the time they reach the top.  These newly minted chief executive officers understand how to capitalize on the budget preparation process as a highly effective and reliable vehicle for exerting management control. … 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 1, 2021 0 Comments

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 the great majority of vacant CEO positions have been filled with executives who have worked their way up the operational ladder in one or more transit authorities.  This operational bias is easily understandable.  Even small to medium-sized transit authorities are incredibly complex organizations – both operationally and technically – and it’s only natural to want an executive in the top spot who can keep the buses and trains … 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 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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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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Beware of the Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome

December 2, 2019 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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Leading Innovators-in-Chief: Disney’s Robert Iger and DART’s Gary Thomas

November 11, 2019 0 Comments

“What can I do to get my board meaningfully engaged in leading innovation and change in my authority?” I hear variations of this very important question quite often from transit chief executives in my one-on-one governance coaching sessions and educational workshops. There’s no simple answer, but the indispensable first step is to make sure you understand what’s going on in the rapidly evolving field of change planning and management. One thing for sure: traditional comprehensive, long-range “strategic” planning – for arbitrary periods like three or five years – is a blunt innovation tool. Experience has no doubt taught many if … Read the rest

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The Creativity-Innovation Nexus: Part One of Our Creativity Series

May 23, 2019 0 Comments

The innovation process – and the role of the chief executive as your authority’s “Chief Innovation Officer” – has been a major focus of this blog, and several posts have featured real-life cases of successful implementation of significant innovation initiatives. Our focus on innovation makes the best of sense in light of the challenges facing all transit authorities and other public/nonprofit organizations in these times of rapid change. Building your authority’s capacity to innovate is the key to future stability and growth, and standing pat, clinging to the present, is a sure-fire recipe for decline.

Up to now, our posts … Read the rest

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Comet CEO John Andoh Wearing the Innovator-in-Chief Hat

April 1, 2019 0 Comments

Experience has taught me that successfully implementing significant out of the box change initiatives depends on the strong leadership of a chief executive officer wearing what I call the “Innovator-in-Chief” hat. CEOs I’ve observed over the years succeed at the Innovator-in-Chief role have without exception been what I think of as “change-savvy.” This means that:

They’ve been technically very knowledgeable about best practices in the rapidly changing area of change planning and management, which means they haven’t been wedded to conventional planning wisdom and out-of-date approaches. You’ll never hear a change-savvy CEO extolling the virtues of traditional long-range (or “strategic”) … Read the rest

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

November 1, 2018 0 Comments

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 the great majority of vacant CEO positions have been filled with executives who have worked their way up the operational ladder in one or more transit authorities.  This operational bias is easily understandable.  Even small to medium-sized transit authorities are incredibly complex organizations – both operationally and technically – and it’s only natural to want an executive in the top spot who can keep the buses and trains … Read the rest

Continue Reading »