What can a Hopi Indian text teach us about leading change?

  • David May FCBI
  • 7 April 2020
  • Blog | Regulation & Compliance | Blog

At the end of the most recent meeting of the Chartered Banker Institute’s Membership Forum, I quoted a Hopi Indian text, which to me embodies the ethos of the Forum and the Institute as a whole. One of the sentiments expressed, was:  

“It is time to speak your Truth. 

Create your community. 

Be good to each other. 

And do not look outside yourself for the leader.” 

What I saw as I looked around the room was a true sense of community. In bringing together members from different countries, with different experiences and from levels of membership that range from students to Fellows, the Membership Forum offers a unique opportunity for insight into what matters. That sense of belonging, of mattering, really sums up what being part of the Institute is all about. 

It was also clear to me that each member of the Forum (and we can extend this to each member of the Institute) has something to offer. By becoming part of the body, each and everyone is a leader. 

Another sentiment that called out to me was: 

“The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!” 

For me that celebrates the power and potential of the collective. The influence we have as a professional body to lead change and create a healthy economic society is huge. The Institute’s voice in terms of regulators, media, financial services organisations and the general public offers an opportunity for us to develop creative solutions to the issues that count, today and in the future. 

Finally, the call to action: 

“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.”  

It seems to me that now is the time for us to act, to influence the influencers, be visible, be seen for our profession, for the good of the profession and the good of society. It wasn’t just me who was moved by these words, the sense of community and action that they communicate clearly resonated with members too. Since the meeting, I have received many requests to publish the text in full, which I believe underpins the sense of belonging, counting and making a difference that is the essence of the Institute. 

David May is Chair of the Institute’s Membership Forum and an Institute Advocate. He was formerly Director of Learning and Development at RBS.