How accidental credit union leaders can get unstuck

So, you’re a credit union leader. You have a staff to pay, an organization with a strong legacy looking to you to lead the company into its next chapter, and most importantly, you have a few thousand to millions of members depending on you to support them when they need you at their most vulnerable state. They’re relying on your credit union to save them from the desperation of paying for a car repair or the excitement of buying their first home.

But at what age did you expect that you would be in this position? Perhaps you joined the credit union as a teller or moved to your credit union from another industry. Not many credit union CEOs have trained since a young age to take on such a challenge. But if we look at history, you’ll find some help.

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius expected an ordinary life for himself. He was a quiet fella who liked to read, and then – almost literally – he found himself with the weight of the world on his shoulders: He was chosen to rule the Roman Empire. Destiny called, and he answered.

Of course, this man was special. He had something in him that helped him lead. But so do you. You may not be leading the Roman Empire, but destiny called you to leadership at your credit union.

In the wise words of Iron Maiden:

“Hand of fate is moving

And the finger points to you”

The question is whether you will step forward and lead. “Of course, I am,” will be your initial answer. But are you trying new things or staying in your comfort zone, keeping to the way you’ve always done things? Are you taking risks or just riding out the next few years safely to retirement? Are you holding your team members accountable to success or afraid to have tough conversations? Gut check time.

As Marcus Aurelius wept in his new position, worried he would fail and be as horrible as the emperors who preceded him. Otherwise, leaders, like Rusticus and Antoninus, held him up and spoke wise words to him. He had accountability partners and a mastermind group before they were hip and cool.

So, credit union leader… the finger is pointing squarely at you. Will you accept what fate has dealt you in this position of power and leadership? Will you be extraordinary, or will you hide in comfort from fear? Will you make the tough decisions that will move you forward or shirk your duty and just sign those merger papers? Will you accept mediocrity, being average—or less than average?

My opening question needs an answer: Are you stuck? Let’s talk. It’s no sales pitch. It’s me putting my money where my mouth is to protect the credit union industry we’re all passionate about from unnecessarily euthanizing more credit unions, leaving even more consumers with fewer (and worse) choices. Email me at, and let’s encourage each other to keep moving forward.

Get Un-Stuck

From strat plans to rebrands, YMC President and CEO, Bo, is passionate about helping financial institutions come up with a winning formula. If you’re ready to go beyond the SWOT, you can email him at

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