Relationship Capital

July 21st, 2009

There’s a term I started using after talking with a Keith Ferrazzi employee a year or two ago: Relationship Capital.

When I talk about Relationship Capital I am referring to the “capital” I am building up in that relationship.  It comes from nurturing individual relationships.  People might be referring to the level of TRUST they have with a contact when they talk about relationship capital.

I do not think of relationship capital as something I need to get a return on… in other words, if I have an investment I want to get a return on my money invested.

With relationship capital I develop relationships so that I can add more value to the relationships or, if needed, they can add value to me.  I think a one-to-one comparison with any other investment, especially where you will take you investment off the table if it doesn’t give you the ROI you want, is not fair.  If you think of your relationships that way they will probably seem one-sided or fake.

Building relationship capital is deeper than that.

However, understand that one day I might want to take a draw on that relationship capital, which might mean i ask for a favor, or an introduction, or something like that.

Tomorrow I have a post that I talk about networking and using relationship capital….

Have you heard of, or do you refer to, relationship capital?  Perhaps an almost-good-enough phrase to describe something we all need to be working on.

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One Response to “Relationship Capital”

  1. You make a good point. The investments we make in relationships aren’t necessarily meant for immediate, measurable results. Aside from the long-term potential for “results,” there is also simply good will and reputation built through these activities.

    One great side benefit that has resulted from linkedin and twitter is that folks are applying a “give to get” approach and understanding the value of doing so. But, I haven’t use the phrase “relationship captial” specifically. I look forward to reading your next post about it.

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