August 5, 2022

JF2894: 7 Secrets to Cultivating a Winning Team ft. AJ Klenk

AJ Klenk entered real estate in the middle of the Great Recession in 2009 with a dream to eventually build schools internationally in developing countries. Today, he is the founder and owner of Capstone Companies, the country’s largest privately owned multifamily apartment brokerage. He is also a GP of more than 2,000 units, owns a multifamily development company along with multiple restaurants, and just returned from building a school in Nicaragua. 

In this episode, AJ shares his tips for cultivating a winning team and discusses how his success is helping him achieve his ultimate dream of giving back.

How to Create a Winning Team


1. Determine your core values.

Once you can identify which characteristics and principles are most important to you, you can work to surround yourself with people who share them. 


2. Put your team first.

AJ has learned that prioritizing your team is key. “If you can focus on bringing your whole team up, then you'll come up with the team,” he says.


3. Seek out complementary skill sets. 

Surround yourself with subject matter experts with the knowledge and experience you lack. After spending 15 years building businesses and brokering real estate, AJ didn’t let his lack of development experience stop him from getting into the business — he simply surrounded himself with experienced developers.


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4. A positive attitude is key.

Members of your team should possess qualities like high energy, optimism, enthusiasm, curiosity, high integrity, respect, and humility. 


5. Keep them close.

Once you find great people, keep them close. Communicate regularly. “Hit them up every once in a while with a text message or give them a shout on the phone and catch up for a beer,” AJ says. “You never know where it’s going to lead.”


6. Be honest.

“My best man at my wedding told me that I’m the most brutally honest person that he’s ever met, and I would encourage everybody to be that way,” AJ says. He notes that this is especially important with respect to hiring and retention. Establishing an open dialogue with each team member and making time to ask questions can make all the difference.


7. Know when to walk away.

Don’t waste time with someone you don’t respect or who acts unethically. “Even if there might be a commission check on the other end of it, for me, I couldn’t spend my time with those folks,” AJ says, “and there’s a lot of fish in the sea.”

AJ Klenk | Real Estate Background

  • Owner of Capstone Companies and Catalyst Capital Partners, a multifamily development company.
  • Portfolio: GP of 2,000+ units, and currently has 18 multifamily projects in motion at various stages. Also the owner of multiple restaurants in the Carolinas.
  • Based in: Charlotte, NC
  • Say hi to him at:
  • Greatest lesson: Grow your business where you feel real value can be created and where a positive impact can be had on others.


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