Leadership is not easy.  Everything changes from day to day, the environment is never certain, and the time to celebrate successes is often eclipsed by the next crisis.

For credit union leaders the recent past has been a challenge to say the least.  And at times like this its helpful to have a few simple guidelines that can help you navigate the waters.

In Rules of Thumb, author Alan M. Webber provides 52 such rules that credit union leaders can learn from.  Though Webber writes from the perspective of small business and entrepreneurship, his insights can easily be adapted to the very small-business like world of credit unions.

Frankly, it’s hard not to get excited about reading Rules of Thumb when you take a look at the back flap of the book and read the author’s bio: “According to those who know him best, Alan M. Webber is witty and wise (on Mondays and Wednesdays), thoughtful and provocative (on Tuesdays and Thursdays), and irreverent and creative (on Fridays and Saturdays).  On Sundays he rests.”

Anyone with a bio like that must have a wealth of experiences and insights to share, and that is exactly what Webber does in the book.  Webber is the cofounding editor of Fast Company magazine and was the editorial director and managing editor of the Harvard Business Review.  He calls himself a ‘global detective,’ something he admits “has the benefit of little meaning but sounding cool.”

In Rules of Thumb, Webber draws upon his experiences with some of the world’s best thinkers and highest achievers to define his fifty-two rules of thumb.  His rules span a broad spectrum of topics, but all are intended to help people in every walk of life “make sense out of confusing, challenging, and compelling times.”

The real strength of the book, and the key reason it should be of interest to credit union leaders, lies in the real world stories that underlie each of Webber’s rules. Sharing many of his experiences in starting Fast Company, as well as stories from his days at the Harvard Business Review, Webber keeps his insights practical and accessible.  This is the kind of book you should keep on the shelf, pull down regularly, and use as a guide to improve your effectiveness.

ACTION ADVICE: Pick up a copy of Rules of Thumb and put it in a place where you can read it from time to time.  The advice is solid and the book is organized to support reading one rule at a time, or you can use it as a reference and look up a topic when you are wrestling with a challenge to get some new perspective and insight.