Keeping the board-CEO working relationship on an even keel and healthy over the long run is a major challenge. Just the fact that strong-willed people with robust egos have to be melded into enough of a team to do the extremely complex and demanding work of governing is challenging enough, but other factors tend to make the board-CEO partnership inherently fragile and prone to erode quickly if not diligently managed. For one thing, the high-pressure atmosphere at the top of your transportation authority, where high-stakes and often tremendously thorny issues are addressed – frequently with intense public scrutiny – tends to fray the board-CEO partnership. And the fact that the great majority of transportation board members are appointed by third parties to whom appointees naturally feel some degree of loyalty creates a kind of centrifugal force working against a solid board-CEO relationship.
Really board-savvy transportation CEOs like Susan Meyer of the Spokane Transit Authority and Gary Thomas of Dallas’ DART well know that they’ve got to play a very active role as their authority’s “Chief Governing Relationship Manager.” They understand that it would be totally unrealistic to expect board members, who are part-time volunteers, to bear a very large part of the board-CEO relationship building burden. In this informative new podcast, Susan and Gary explore a critical facet of the relationship building role: reaching agreement with the board on guidelines for board-CEO (and board-executive staff) interaction and communication. Highly accomplished Chief Governing Relationship Managers in their authorities, Susan and Gary share several very practical, tested “tricks of the relationship building trade” in their new podcast.