How Leaders Monetize Their Social Legacy

Many leaders are concerned about what legacy they’re building.

Few realize the legacy they’ve already built.

And even fewer tap into that existing legacy to benefit their company and the companies of those people they’re already connected with.

In my 15 years of practice, I’ve noticed that top leaders are most often focused on these three questions surrounding their legacy:

  • Are they building a career that will end in a legacy?
  • Are they monetizing their legacy?
  • Are they actively shaping their legacy?

But while leaders may be thinking about these questions, they’re not usually talking about them.

That’s unfortunate, because talking about legacy can unlock opportunities that are hiding in plain sight.

Especially opportunities around unused social capital.

As a Business Leader, You Have THE MOST Access to Social Capital


You are deeply experienced in your industry. You have connections with peers, partners, vendors, and so many other people with a vested interest in your field.

You have a vast reservoir of social capital available to you — and your company can benefit greatly from it.

What stops most leaders from tapping into this social capital is the fear of unintended consequences.

While your personal connections are considerable resources, it can feel awkward to start that conversation.

Let’s shift your perspective, here, and make the encounter much less clumsy.

Reframe: Helping Your Connections Achieve Their Visions

Every one of your business connections and target clients has a vision. When you approach them in a selfless manner, you can achieve your “selfish” purpose while genuinely helping them at the same time.

Start the conversation by talking about their business and political issues:

  • Their stakeholders
  • How they’re competing
  • Their business model
  • What’s going on with their employees
  • Their customers

Starting the conversation here is easier for you — and much more valuable and helpful to them.

And when you take the risk to have this conversation, you’ll often discover there’s hidden alignment, the next step you take with them is much faster than usual, and the approach is so much more effective in getting mutually beneficial projects going.

The Bottom Line

Even though I’m coaching other leaders in this process every day, I’m not immune to the fear in my own practice. I often have to reframe this for myself, too. I have to cross the boundary of fear around unintended consequences. But in my experience, the majority of the time this conversation works. It’s worth taking the risk.


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