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On Relationship Capital.

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John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Operation HOPE, Inc.

By John Hope Bryant

Everything — is the result of relationship capital in your life. Everything.

I founded and now run the largest nonprofit financial inclusion and economic freedom organization in the United States. It’s called Operation HOPE. Its 20M annual budget is sustained not just because of its ‘good and noble and proven works’ helping others, it is also because of my and its acquired Relationship Capital.

I founded and now run the largest minority-controlled, institutional quality, for-profit owner of single-family rental real estate in the United States. It’s called The Promise Homes Company. Its approximate 100M of asset value was acquired not just as the result of a keen investment strategy and management system of singles family residential homes, but also because of my acquired relationship capital. In short, my partners respect and like me. And I like and respect them too. We dig each other. We are comfortable around each other. As a result, we also trust each other. The growth of Promise Homes and Operation HOPE were not the result of PowerPoint presentations, but rather a 20+ year track record of acquired relationship capital.

It’s important that people who run the organizations you desire support from like you, and not just think well of your work. Have you forged a true relationship with them, or is your life the product of a series of ‘transactions?’ There is no sustained value created in a transactional (way of) life.

You got a great promotion recently. Probably had something to do with the fact that your superiors, your bosses, liked you. And not just because you were super competent.

You got your barbershop (guys), or nail salon (ladies) appointment moved up in time, in spite of the fact that the waiting area was stacked and packed with people when you rang them up on the telephone. That’s probably the direct result of relationship capital. You know someone there, and they like you. This is a direct result of relationship capital.

Your wife picks up after you constantly at home, all day long. Day in and day out. Well, she only does this because she’s your wife, and presumably loves and adores you — not because you somehow deserve to have another person walking behind you, effectively doing your upkeep job for you. And the same is also true, of a man going out of his way to care for his wife. There is a preferred connection here. This is a direct result of relationship capital. 

Or consider the choice to attend Harvard University, versus say a state college or university with excellent educational performance marks. Why pay 2-3 times more, for essentially the same educational learning quality, to attend Harvard? Very simple. The Harvard University Class of 2019, is going to ‘hook each other up’ for the next 30 years. As each member of the Class succeeds and gains prominence, others in the same Class will benefit, directly or indirectly. This includes getting a cool job, in the department or division or office of your former classmate of 20 years ago. This is a direct result of relationship capital.

Now, the opposite of these positive examples is also true.

Your son or daughter gets arrested because they were caught riding in a car with a felon, who was in turn in possession of a controlled substance. Well, that’s also the result of relationship capital. 

I said this, in my bestselling book The Memo: “If you hang around 9 broke people, you’ll be the 10th.” ReadThatLineAgain. It applies to everything.

As I outline in my bestselling book, “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism,” the reality is that beyond a roof over your head, food on the table and reasonable healthcare, all other forms of wealth and poverty have to do with Mindset. Whether you believe that you can, or believe that you can’t — you’re absolutely right. The same is true of relationship capital.

“There are idiots and fools, running companies and countries, and brilliant people who are homeless, precisely because it does not ONLY matter how bright or how brilliant you are.“ There are OTHER factors. It’s about Mindset, and environment, and culture — and your acquired relationship capital.

What is the quality of your relationship capital in your life?

Who you hang around, and who you spend (invest) your time with, just might define your limitless, or limited — success in life. The great part is that you get to decide and to design this.

Let’s go…


John Hope Bryant. Entrepreneur. Founder. Chairman and CEO. Operation HOPE, Bryant Group Ventures, and The Promise Homes Company. Author of bestsellers The Memo: Five Rules for Your Economic Liberation, How The Poor Can Save CapitalismLove Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World. Get The Memo here.

This piece was originally published on LinkedIn.

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