Last week I interviewed David Yarnold. I was surprised to find out how National Audubon Society actually has pretty much equal bipartisan support and does so by uniting America on values — and is reinvigorating an iconic brand in the process ….
As background, since becoming Audubon’s 10th president in September 2010, David Yarnold has unified and built America’s most effective conservation network. He has grown Audubon’s revenue from $73 million to $135 million, while fueling membership growth from 350,000 to 1.6+ million and advancing Audubon from a 2-star charity rating to a best-in-class, 4-star charity.
Here’s what I found to be his secret sauce: his vision broke down geographic silos and aligned Audubon’s conservation work using the appropriate analogy of migratory flyways, the “superhighways in the sky,” that millions of birds travel across geographic and political boundaries.
As I thought about alignment, I asked David about where he thought CEOs can learn from each other: “What can for-profits learn from nonprofits and what can nonprofits learn from for-profits?”
David responded, “For-profits maximize shareholder value; nonprofits maximize social good. We share the same need to spend wisely and to deliver returns, because our cause is our business. For-profits can learn how nonprofits tap into Americans’ passion to be a part of something meaningful. Nonprofits can learn business discipline — including how to stop doing what doesn’t work.”
And as I think about the conversation with David, I realize that one of the most powerful ways for CEOs to drive progress and the economy forward is to learn from each other … and imagine, if David learns from his clients – who are birds – what analogies might you learn from your clients!