Ep 052

The Power of Community, Creating a Culture of Trust, and Building a Life of Significance

With

Triad Member: Virtus Financial Group

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Inside This Episode

Today, I’m interviewing Triad Members Tyler Wrezinski and Andrew Hall, the co-founders of Virtus Financial Group. As you’ll find out, these guys are a ton of fun to hang out with, super authentic, and are proof of what can happen when you surround yourself with the right people and you’re willing to step into the unknown.

In two short years, they went from an insurance-focused offering to an RIA with a holistic planning approach – bringing in north of $35M in total assets for 2023 and now sitting at $50M in AUM.

I got a lot of joy out of hearing them describe how our community has helped them level up and change the way they do business AND life – and I know you will too! 

3 of the biggest insights from Virtus Financial Group

  • The power of community and what happens when competitors become collaborators, egos are left at the door, and success isn’t measured by numbers, but by the support and camaraderie of a like-minded tribe.

  • How to guide your clients toward a meaningful future and give them the courage and confidence to truly live their life – and spend without worry.

  • Learn how prioritizing a culture of trust and alignment can supercharge your team’s performance, attract top talent, and create unstoppable momentum!

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • What attracted Tyler and Andrew to Triad?
  • Weaving authenticity through business and life
  • The importance of sticking to your word
  • Building a practice with family & friends
  • Being a fiduciary is NOT a marketing strategy
  • Helping clients enjoy their wealth with confidence
  • The multiplying value of great partners
  • Using benefits to reinforce company culture
  • Handling team members who aren’t a good fit
  • Doing business and life for others

BUILDING A BUSINESS OF SIGNIFICANCE

INSPIRING YOUR CLIENTS TO ACHIEVE MEANINGFUL GOALS

CREATING A CULTURE OF TRUST WITH YOUR TEAM

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE: 

PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE:

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED REVIEW

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MIC DROP MOMENTS WITH TYLER WREZINSKI AND ANDREW HALL

  • “Growth doesn’t happen when you’re comfortable.” – Tyler Wrezinski

  • “We’ve added more tools in our arsenal but it just makes it simpler. It’s like if you’re fixing a plumbing pipe and all you have is a saw, it’ll work but it’s a real pain in the you-know-what. But if I have a whole tool bag for absolutely everything I can do, I can fix that pipe in two seconds because I have everything I need.” – Andrew Hall

  • “Ultimately, what our practices are really becoming is little factories of courage, where one-by-one we’re cranking out courageous people who are going from a life of success in their working careers to a life of significance in their retirement careers.” – Tyler Wrezinski

  • “We’re all in the lifeboat together, and we’re all trying to get to shore. If someone’s rowing in the opposite direction, it’s going to make everything a heck of a lot harder.” – Andrew Hall

  • “It’s great when people want to help you grow your business. But the fact that our lives are growing is really the thing that’s impactful for me.” – Tyler Wrezinski

  • “The financial service industry has done a great job of teaching the American public how to buy their products, but they’ve done a very poor job of teaching the American public how to plan to accomplish their goals using their finances.” –Tyler Wrezinski

  • “The true outcome of our work is the freedom and courage to make what’s possible real.” – Brad Johnson

  • “The number one tool we have in our arsenal to create impact in people’s lives is the language that we use.” – Andrew Hall

Brad Johnson: Welcome to another episode of Do Business Do Life. As I told you guys before we hit record, I’ve been counting down the days all week when I saw this on the calendar. So, welcome, Tyler. Welcome, Andrew, to the show.

Tyler Wrezinski: Thanks, Brad.

Andrew Hall: I’ve been counting down my life for this moment.

Brad Johnson: Well, let’s not blow this up too big. All right. Well, guys, as I was thinking how to kick this thing off, as Triad came to be and there were some early stages of Triad, and there were some early believers in the mission and what we were all about as far as doing business, doing life, and really changing a lot of the focus of this industry that was, as we all know, can be very monetarily focused at times. And I have this vivid image. It was actually Triad’s very first live experience. And it was out in Napa, California at the beautiful, as you reminded me, Andrew, Rancho Caymus Inn and at that time, I believe we maybe had just over ten members, 10, 11, 12, we were right in that range, just getting off the ground. And our mutual friend, Bobby, had introduced us to you all, and you were checking us out for the first time. And I remember sitting there, the event hasn’t kicked, the experience hasn’t kicked off yet.

Tyler Wrezinski: It was an event then. It wasn’t an experience as much.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, it’s probably true. It was more of an event back then. You’re right. And I’m sitting there. There’s like this little fire pit area. I think I’m having a glass of wine to just say, “Get ready for the next couple of days.” And this tall guy with these streaming locks walks around the corner, and it was you, Tyler, and I’m like, “Hey, I’m Brad,” and you’re like, “I’m Tyler.” And you were the one guy that wasn’t already a Triad member and I remember just immediately we hit it right off. You and Linda jumped right into the conversation, obviously, met Andrew and Christine a little later. But that is a memory I will never forget because that was like at the very pivotal foundational moment as Triad was just coming together. So, what was your take being the stranger just showing up? I’d love to hear your side of that story.

Tyler Wrezinski: Well, you know, it’s really interesting how people come in and out of your life for different reasons at different times. And I’ve known Bobby for years and she and I worked closely together, but she had kind of moved on to a different opportunity. But we kind of always just stayed in touch. She’s a big fashion person. I like fashion too. So, we always had that in common. And we just kind of stayed in touch and she said, “You’ve got to meet these people,” and I always knew Bobby to be a person of high integrity. And so, when she said I had to meet somebody, I knew that was somebody I had to get to know, I had to meet them. And I wasn’t looking. I wasn’t looking at all, Brad, and we were perfectly happy where we’re at with the relationships that we had that were long-term, 13-year relationship, and being a top five office for those people. And, really, as I look back on that, I realize that God brought that along into my life at the right time. Because I think just prior to that, I remember having a conversation with my brother and we were looking at our careers. We’re talking about our life. And we were like, “Is this just what this is going to be for the next 20 or 25 years? Do we just wake up, rinse, and repeat, and then we’re just going to retire and do something else?” You know, I just remember a deep sense of almost like floating, floating through my career, and that buttons over into floating through your life.

And so, my first memory, really getting there was, A, I was like I can’t believe these people are bringing us to Napa even though we haven’t promised that we’ll work with them. We haven’t done anything. And that spoke a lot about the type of culture you guys were trying to build from the get-go, that you would just welcome in a stranger and treat them like family. And the second I walked up to that fire pit and walked up and got in a pool with the people around there and drank a little wine, which helps break down some social barriers, of course, you could just sense that feeling that, “Hey, you’re welcome here. We don’t know you yet. We don’t know who you are but we’re going to bring you in. We’re going to treat you like family. We’re going to show you how we want to treat you from the word go, not waiting until you’ve signed on the dotted line. We’re going to be really honest with how we want to treat you.” And setting that up from the very first conversation I ever had on the phone to just being like I was blown away when you guys said, “Hey, let’s go out to Napa Valley and hang out.” “Great. Let’s do it.” How can I say no to that? And I think I really remember being there and just being like, “Wow.” The excitement and energy that was there, it was something that I don’t know if you guys could plan to do that but it was really an organic moment for us to walk up and just be like, “Wow.” There’s some excitement, some energy, and of course, the challenge that you gave to us over the course of the next couple of years have literally changed my life.

Brad Johnson: Thanks, man. I don’t take those words lightly, and I really appreciate that because one thing as I’ve gotten to know you better that I’ve always loved is you’re real. You’re authentic. You are who you are. You’re comfortable in your own skin, and those are the sort of people I love to surround myself with. And so, I appreciate those words. Andrew, what was your side of that one?

Andrew Hall: Very similar, but like I remember like a lot of things. One, it was like bizarre. It was super bizarre because Tyler and I had actually been to that house at Dakota’s, that winery. We were at Dakota Shy. We had actually been to that house. We’ve stayed at that house. We’ve like, in a prior life, I guess you can say. And like, we never in a million years would think we would ever be back at that place again. And then like all of a sudden we were there. It was just like it was the most bizarre thing ever.

Brad Johnson: At full circle.

Andrew Hall: I remember telling, “Can you believe we’re at this place of all places again? Right?” But I remember like that night, the night of, wait, I got something going on there with the Zoom but I remember we’re at that big, long table, right? And everybody’s there and there was ten offices. There was ten offices. And we were like kind of the 11th or newer people. Me and my wife flew in because it was like the one weekend we had something to do. So, we showed up late. We left early. So, we were there for like 24 hours. It was super-fast, but I just remember this overwhelming feeling. I kept saying it and I still felt to this day like for the first time in our business, I still feel like we were all alone. Like, our office was alone like, hey, we were out there forging this path, this life of everything that we’re trying to create. And Tyler and I, we’re doing it on our own. And we have support organizations, IMOs, FMOs that are saying, “Oh, this is your next marketing thing. We’re going to help you process some business,” or there just a cog in the wheel, in general. And it’s like that was it. It was this overwhelming feeling of like, “Hey, we’re not alone. There’s like-minded people here that want to grow together.” And it’s like for the first time, there’s competitors. Like, every single person is a competitor, technically, but they’re willing to pour every single thing, their best stuff. This is the number one thing I do in my business to beat the competition. I’m giving it to you.

Tyler Wrezinski: It never felt like a competition thing from the get-go with that group of people. There is a natural give and take, people cheering and pulling for each other. And we use the phrase no ego and check your ego at the door. And from the moment we were involved, there is an ego check at the door, which is great for us because we wanted to soak up and learn more. And even though we were running a successful business, we didn’t know where to go at all from there. And when you have people in the room who are like have the same story, started out selling Medicare supplements and then graded death benefit policies out of the trunk of their car, just like I did with my dad 20 years ago. And now they’re running $100-million-a-year books of business. It was like all of a sudden you could go, “Man, we’ve got hope. We can see some light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a challenge for us to rise up to that’s going to make us better people, and it’s going to enable us to run a better business that has more significance for us, for our families, and for our community.” And I could put those words to that now. In the moment, I couldn’t put those words. In the moment, I just felt something magnetic and now I can say, “Oh, I know what that was,” because I’ve grown. I’ve grown into being able to say those words which were not really part of my vocabulary. Building a business of significance was not part of my vocabulary two-and-a-half years ago.

Andrew Hall: Yeah. I felt like we’re just like felt like work. Okay. You know, it felt like work. It felt like we were building something so that we could have some sort of where Simon talks about the infinite game. We were playing a finite game, like, “Hey, look, how can we just make more money so that we can do more stuff with our families or whatever it is?” And then all of a sudden, something you just said that was super interesting, dude. It was like, “I wasn’t able to put words to it then, but I am now.” And, man, that’s so true because like then I was like, “Man, I don’t feel alone anymore. Like, I don’t feel alone. I have finally somebody on this journey with us. But now it’s like it created this like fulfillment and the number one thing and I have it sitting here somewhere. There it is. It was at the very front page of Simon Sinek’s book, The Infinite Game. And I won’t bore everybody with reading the whole thing, but I highly recommend this little thing right here. It’s going to be framed on my desk for the rest of my life. It literally changed my life. And the last sentence is basically saying, “And when our lives are over, those who joined us on the path to fulfillment will keep going without us and inspire others to join them too.” And like now like that’s what that felt like. I didn’t know what at the time but that’s what that weekend felt like to us is like, “Wow. We’re on this path of fulfillment and we’re going to keep going. And when we’re gone, we’re now part of something bigger than ourselves.” I think everybody that at our very human nature, the number one thing that people want to do more than anything, I believe, is just belong. You want to belong. And in order to belong, it doesn’t mean you have to hit a certain number or right amount of business or be X, Y, Z. It’s just like you belong.

Tyler Wrezinski: Andrew, I don’t know, you know, we get so trained by this industry to perform again on the success, the heating treadmill, right? And I was so blown away and I still am to this day that a group like Triad, there’s no minimum number you have to meet to go hang out with your friends and people who you’re learning from. There’s no, I don’t feel any pressure to produce. And that was completely the thing from the get-go. That was built in the DNA of Triad and it’s changing the DNA of how I do things in my office. We’re changing from a production-based rewards to a process-based reward system here in our office so that my people, the people who I’m so intimate with and work with every day, can feel the same thing I felt and I have gotten to feel as we’ve worked with Triad. Yeah, we’re just really moving because nobody treats you like that. People don’t treat people like that. What are you going to do for me? You know, and then I’m going to do something for you as an exchange. And instead of an exchange of production, here we have an exchange of ideas. We have an exchange of experience, which is so much more powerful when we think about an abundant life.

Andrew Hall: And it leads to more of that, right? Like it just builds on. It just builds to more and more of the good, man, more of everything. You know, it’s crazy.

Brad Johnson: Well, selfishly, guys, it’s what we wanted too. I just wanted to sit back and listen to you guys riff on that and it’s awesome to hear. And very similar to you, Tyler, in that very first Triad experience, to your point, it was more of an event back then and it’s continued to evolve and grow. But, I’ll tell you, you mentioned Simon Sinek, Andrew, and for those listening in or watching in that aren’t familiar, he just spoke at our launch experience beginning of 2024. And back to like The Infinite Game versus the finite game. Great book. Highly recommend it. But I’ll tell you the powerful kind of community and belonging that you’re talking about, we had a gentleman there named Billy. I don’t know if you guys met Billy and his wife out there at launch. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. But they were kind of in the same spot that you were at your first time. They were just kind of like checking out the community. And it’s kind of this like, “Wait, is this too good to be true? Sort of, you know?” And I went up to him the last day. You know, I said, “Hey, how’s it going? Like, shoot me straight.” And he goes, “This is the first time,” and he’s been doing this a long time, obviously, and had a very successful level, he goes, “This is the first time I’ve ever been in a room like this where everybody’s here for the same reason.” And now, you know, leveling up in business, leveling up in life, that can be everybody’s different definition of that but the theme is the same.

And that is one of the most proud moments I have had to date so far on this journey because I’m like that’s what we wanted in the first place. And that’s the infinite game. You know, it’s like you don’t ever want to stop playing that game. If you’re leveling up in business, you’re leveling up in life where the finite game is to your point, the game that a lot of finance plays or has been trained to play on like here’s the new number we chase each year, all production-based. And so, it means a lot for you to hear that from you guys but it’s really cool when you bring in an outsider that’s like never experienced our community ever. And they say it and it just shows the power of the community you all are a part of. So, it’s like, basically, Sean and I are like, “Let’s not mess this up,” right? Let’s stay true to what we’re about and like truly curate the community on doing business, doing life, checking the ego at the door, everything you guys have mentioned.

Andrew Hall: Yeah. It’s amazing. I mean, it’s like I think about kind of, again, going back to that, the industry that get your numbers, all that so you can have a better life for yourself or whatever that means financially. Well, it’s like…

Tyler Wrezinski: We’ll figure it out there.

Andrew Hall: But here, it’s all of a sudden like the things that we learn, the things that we do, the people that we make, the relationships that we’ve made are impacting all of the people around me in my sphere that I come into, even the person at the gas station across the street and I go to the gas station across the street every single day in my life for a while. And same person checks me. I didn’t even know their name for like six months and it’s because of like working with Chris Smith and working with a co and talking about like, “Hey, why don’t you try to show up like a leader in your every single day life?” And that’s like you going order a coffee, order that coffee like a leader and it’s like now struck up a friendship with that person. I told them what I was. They said, “Hey, look, I went and do this now, and I did this,” and they impacted other people’s lives. I talked to a security guard on Saturday night at lunch for like 25 minutes about all the possibility of things he can do in his life. And now he’s like starting a podcast and doing all this stuff. And he reached out to me in Instagram. He said, “Thank you.” I’m like all of that is because of this relationship that we’ve had. And it’s like that’s what’s freaking cool, man. It’s like it’s not just my life being impacted. It is all the people around me lives being impacted.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah. I’ll just mention on that real quick if I could because this has been an incredibly powerful thing that we’re talking about here because it’s great when people want to help you grow your business. But the fact that our lives are growing is really the thing that’s impactful for me because it’s helping my business and we’re growing our business. But I actually shudder to think where I’d be today if we hadn’t reached a fork in the road and taken a bolder path a couple of years ago. I just think that it would have been…

Andrew Hall: Just the anxiety thinking about it, man.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah, I do. I literally break out of sweat about it, and I worry about who I would be because so much of, you know, we talk about like growth doesn’t happen when you’re comfortable. That’s something that’s kind of a theme for my family this year. We’re going to take a month off this summer and right now we’re trying to go to sailing camp. We’re going to learn how to sail a boat together, which we live in central Illinois. We don’t have a lake bigger than a puddle within a hundred miles. And we’re going to do something uncomfortable just because we want to push ourselves to grow. And when you guys came along and challenged me, you challenged us not just at a level because we weren’t in growth mode, and now I don’t even refer to it as growth mode anymore because I’m a big believer that like growth mode sounds like it has an end to it. Like, boy, we’re in growth mode now but someday we’re not going to be in growth mode, and then it’s going to be laptops on the beach mode. Like, we won growth mode. We still have to keep living and playing and doing our business. So, we don’t think about it as growth mode anymore. But back then, the words I needed to hear were simpler than what I’m capable of thinking about right now. And back then, when you guys challenged me to return to growth mode, I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be. I said yes, and if I’d known how hard it was going to be, I wouldn’t have said yes to that challenge of coming along on this journey with you guys. But that growth mode has made a huge difference in me as a human being.

And the thing that’s amazing about that is I don’t think I ever thought about my business and my business relationships helping me grow as a human. I think I just assumed that I was a human over here on one side, and I was a business person over here on the other. And the two shall never meet. The things I like to do over here don’t have anything about what’s going on over here. The thing that I do at a desk here doesn’t have anything to do with what I do when I’m with my wife and kids and friends. And now I realize that I can show up in both of those places as the same person. And my entire life is much more authentic as a result.

Brad Johnson: I love that. That’s awesome to hear. And so, same for me. Guys like Chris Smith, it’s fun like actually, we’re podcasting here. The way I met Chris originally was he was introduced to me by a guy named Garrett Gunderson, who came on my prior podcast, and he’s like, “Oh man, you got to have Chris on. He’s awesome. You’ll love him. Grew up in finance.” So, we did an episode probably back in 2016-2017, sometime around there. And I was like, dang, it was like many mic drop moments, as you all know, because you’ve been on plenty of calls with him. And what I love is back to being authentic and not saying, “Here’s my work life and my personal life and I’m two different people.” That was one of the things I always appreciated from Chris is like he is authentic, like he says stuff and he’s not like some thought leader that’s up on a stage saying something, and then he’s like smoking a pack of cigarettes behind stage sort of deal.

Tyler Wrezinski: That sounds kind of a good analogy. I think we should do that sometime. Maybe it could be both.

Brad Johnson: But, anyway, we were just out in Kansas City and he flew in and did some additional work with Triad and we actually met. This is a fun story, but it reinforces your point, Andrew. So, Bron was finishing up his football season, and so he had a practice in Kansas City. Chris flew in. He just hops over to practice. We all ride back from Kansas City together and I’m like, “Dude, you got to get some KC barbecue. So, Q39, stellar brisket. And so, we show up. It’s like 8:57. And the girl at the front desk, they’re like, “Sorry. We’re closed.” I’m like, “Well, you close at 9. We’re here before closing.” You know, I kind of use my best sales skills. And I’m like, “Man, Chris. Like, he flew in from Arizona today. Like, he’s been dying for this Kansas City barbecue.” Anyway, shout out to Q39. They’re like, “Okay. We’ll seat you.” So, they seat us. Super nice waitress comes over and we eat pretty quick. We don’t want to keep them there too late. And we’re thanking her as we leave. And Chris is like, “Hey, is there anything we can do for you? You were super kind of get us in.” He goes, “Well, yeah, you could leave a Google review. And if you mentioned my name, that would really mean a lot to me because a lot of people find us through Google.” So, anyway, go home. Rest of the trip goes on. And like two days later, like after Christmas back home, he texted me. And he’s like, “Hey,” I forget her name. I think it was like Ashley or something. He was like, “Hey, did you leave Ashley a review?” I go, “Man, I was actually just thinking about that, but I haven’t yet.” And he goes, “I’m just typing mine up now.”

And one of the things I’ve taken from Chris is the saying of, “Be your word.” If you say you’re going to do something, do it. That’s like a testament to your character as a human and that like just shows like he made this like off-handed promise to this waitress that he’s never going to see again the rest of his life and to follow through on that and be your word. And to your point like that works in business, the promises you make to your prospects, your clients. It works in life and how you show up to a random like gas station clerk, to your point, Andrew. And I just think it’s so powerful. Like, those little lessons can apply everywhere. So, I just wanted to share that because I was like, that’s like spot on to an experience I had the other day with Chris.

Andrew Hall: Yeah, they do. I love that be your word, too. It’s amazing how many people aren’t. It’s amazing like if you just do something, you say you’re going to do that people are actually shocked sometimes.

Brad Johnson: Yeah.

Andrew Hall: Especially if you don’t make a big deal of it. My favorite Bible passage literally says let your yes be yes, your no be no. Like, you don’t have this big, long explanation. “Hey, leave me a Google review.” “Okay.” That’s it. Like, no way do they expect that person to actually leave a Google review but his okay was that powerful that he went home and he did it like that stuff is amazing.

Tyler Wrezinski: And I don’t think it comes easy for anybody. It’s easy to look at Chris Smith or somebody like that and go, “This guy’s got a superpower. It’s easy for him,” but he just has to be intentional about it. The amazing thing about those kinds of people, we all have people like that in our life. I’m thinking of a good friend who’s been a spiritual mentor over the years. And we all have people like that in life who make being an amazing person look easy. And I’m just sitting here, listening to that story, and I’m going, “Oh, man, I’ve got so much growing left to do in my life.” And one of the things that’s exciting is that I now, you know, even as a 40-year-old man, I now look at my life as kind of like, “Oh, I’ve got this growing to do and I’m actively seeking out opportunities for growth rather than opportunities to be lazy or to not grow, to be comfortable.” And one of the big challenges in life is that we have to constantly fight for that. Even a guy like Chris, who’s really good at it, makes it looks easy, has to fight for growth. We have to make the decision in our minds, in our businesses, with our spouses, with our children, with our own physical bodies, with our spiritual growth, we have to fight for growth. And we just can’t give it up because if you do, you stop growing, you start dying. My dad used to say that all the time, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” and now I say all the things my father said because I’m turning into him.

Brad Johnson: Isn’t it crazy how that happens, by the way? So, my dad’s name is Brent, and I said something the other day, I’m like, “Dang, that’s the same stuff he used to tell me when I was a kid.” I’m like, “I’m slowly becoming my dad in many ways,” falling asleep in the middle of movies, my kids giving me a hard time, all that stuff.

Tyler Wrezinski: I’m getting physical ticks. Like, he takes his glasses off and rubs his eyes when he thinks about things. And now I’m finding myself like doing that in appointments with clients. And I’m like, “Stop doing that, man.”

Andrew Hall: I see you’ve got the clear frames too. Bernie’s also got the clear frame so you’re literally, now you’re actually literally buying the same glasses.

Tyler Wrezinski: I didn’t even think about that.

Brad Johnson: Well, let’s go into, this is a good segue. You guys have a really cool practice because as you referenced Bernie, Bernie’s your dad, Tyler. He started the firm. You came in kind of the next generation. The son coming into the business. Now, your wife, Linda, is in the business with you as well. And then your buddy, Andrew, which, by the way, I guess for context, for listeners so two different office locations right now. You’ve got one in Bloomington, Illinois, Tyler, that you kind of hold down the fort there. Andrew is down in the Saint Louis market. And then your wife, Christine, also is part of that practice, Andrew. So, give us a little bit kind of like fun story of like the journey of both like probably Tyler, you get into the business and then where did Andrew come in, just for context of the firm? And any lessons or big things along the way?

Tyler Wrezinski: If it’s okay and you’re obviously going to start off with that. And so, I never intended to be in this business like probably most people who are in it. I went off to college after high school, after one year of college. The college and I somewhat jointly agreed to part ways. It may or may not have been due to my class attendance and grades. And I kind of came home and as a 19-year-old, really didn’t have any, you know, my goal in life was to play basketball as a 19-year-old, and that didn’t work out. It never was going to, but as a 19-year-old, you can’t imagine that it won’t. And so, I just floated. I was floating around, man. I had a job waiting tables. I was taking a few classes at a local community college, just trying to figure out what’s going on with my life. And after about two years of that, 2 or 3 years, I talked to my dad and I said, “Hey, what do I have to do to work with you?” And I was just basically grasping at straws. I needed to grow up a little bit. I needed to find something real to do with my life rather than selling barbecue. And he said, “Well, get your license,” and I literally started selling like Medicare supplements and created death benefit policies. Every once in a while, somebody would have a CD rolling over and I’d get to throw a $10,000 or $30,000 into annuity and that was a big week. It was awesome when I got to do that. And as time went by, my dad always said, “Hey, I’m not going to unleash an idiot on the world in this business.” So, if I wanted to continue to progress, I needed to add skills.

So, we always were grasping around, looking for mentors, people to help us, people to add that stuff on. We finally got to the point after about ten years of a career where we were right in somewhere between $7 million and $10 million of annuity premiums a year. And just some life insurance here and there and other stuff like that. And we were adding skills. We were starting to get kind of serious about it. I hate to say that but at a certain point, we were just salespeople, going in and selling stuff. And at a certain point, our mind start to flip to really advising people and trying to help people solve problems and have a better life because we were in their life helping them financially. And we did that really imperfectly. And even today, where we don’t do things perfect, we’re striving to get better. And at a certain point, Andrew, his background was in accounting, master’s degree in accounting, CPA. He’s worked for the State of Illinois, worked for a privately held Fortune 500 company, one of the biggest ones in the country and has done a lot of awesome stuff. And at some point, he just decided he kind of wanted the freedom. He didn’t want to work for the man anymore. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, Andrew, but I think that was exactly what you said.

Andrew Hall: Yeah. I didn’t want to work for the man. You know what, what really came down was fulfillment. I had a great job, enterprise, Rent-A-Car, corporate headquarters down here in Saint Louis. I was actually an internal auditor there. I got to fly the private jet to Europe once. That was super dope. I had a great, great job but like with that job, the more you work, you’re just rewarded with more work. Right?

Tyler Wrezinski: There’s no do life. It’s all do business.

Andrew Hall: There’s no do life. It’s just a reward.

Brad Johnson: Do business, do business.

Tyler Wrezinski: DBDB.

Andrew Hall: Yeah. The better you are, the more work they give you because you’re the guy that’s going to get it done, right? And that’s great. I was on the fast track. I was cruising right along, getting promotions, etcetera, but like every day I just was not fulfilled. It was just not fulfilling. It’s like if I work harder, I am changing nobody’s life. Except for now, the CEO might have another house on a golf course or I’m not changing anybody’s life. And that was like hurting my soul a little bit. I’m a 9 on the Enneagram. I’m a sweetheart, you know, the sweetheart of the Enneagram. I want everybody to be happy, and I harmony. And I just want to help people in some way, shape, or form and help this like fulfilling life or the work that I did at the end of the day impacted people. And so, part of it was that, and part of it was like, yeah, screw the man, you know.

Brad Johnson: You two, I believe the story is you guys knew each other from high school.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yes.

Brad Johnson: Isn’t that like your brother was…?

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah. My brother, Brady, and Andrew were like best friends. They played on the line together on the football team. And then, yeah, sometime in our 20s, we kicked Brady out of the relationship. And now it’s just me and Andrew. And we actually both feel very close to my brother.

Andrew Hall: Yeah.

Tyler Wrezinski: But, you know, when Andrew came on, Brad, we…

Andrew Hall: Speaking off, on my phone down there right now, he literally just called.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah. He’ll call me when you don’t answer.

Brad Johnson: This will be good. We should just randomly throw him on the podcast on speakerphone towards the end.

Andrew Hall: That would be awesome.

Tyler Wrezinski: In fact, he called me before he called you.

Brad Johnson: Oh. Ouch.

Andrew Hall: I like how you just check to make sure that you feel left out right there.

Tyler Wrezinski: That’s so weird. You know, when Andrew came on, Brad, my dad and I, at that point in time, I hadn’t taken over the business really yet, and we knew there was an opportunity because Andrew’s brilliant. Like, Andrew’s got an incredible brain. He does things differently than me because he comes at it from a different angle. He’s got details and he loves the numbers side of things. And I love staying high. Don’t get me down to the details. I start to drown. It starts to kill my soul to be down there. And Andrew’s great at it. But we really didn’t have a way to like bring him into the business or train him. We just kind of brought him in and said, “We’ll figure it out.” Does that sound familiar to you, Brad?

Andrew Hall: Yeah. Figured it out we did.

Brad Johnson: I see that happen a lot in this financial services space.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yes.

Andrew Hall: I mean, I told it to this day, like, I mean, so I started. I was like, “Yeah, that’s great. I’m going to come up with these guys. I’m going to start an office in Saint Louis. We have this big ultimate dream down the road, which is actually coming to reality as we speak. But I was just in an office with nothing on the walls. One like a Regus office, a shareable office space, nothing on the walls with nothing but a phone in front of me. No marketing plan. No literally anything other than a phone in front of me. And I just sat there and I was like, “Oh, this is real.” And then I just figured it out.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah. It was literally the grab it and grind. It was just like we’re going to try and figure this out. We’re going to try and make this dream work. And we had a mentor during that time who was helping us, but turned out to be not a really very good match for working with us after a few years. And really that was just prior to meeting Triad. And during that period of time too, my wife retired from State Farm. She had a career in management for 15 years there, started running everything here. And by the way, like if we talk about this, there’s a lot of people behind the scenes who pull so much weight and who we couldn’t possibly do this without. And my wife, Linda, is absolutely one of them. Andrew’s wife, Christine, absolutely one of them. We might not reference them a lot today but they were huge in this. And I know for a certainty that I would not be doing what I’m doing today if it were not for the fact that my wife stepped into our business and started doing the things I couldn’t do and still can’t do. And so, I’m incredibly grateful for her role in this story. And we would not have a family-owned business if it were not for her.

Brad Johnson: I love that you bring that up, and back to DBDL like it’s really cool both of your spouses are in the business with you. So, it’s very DBDL on all sides. One of my early favorite memories of Linda, this was back to the Napa story where we all met. We were there at Dakota Shy under the redwoods and that back little patio area. And you all were sitting at a table and I came over and she goes, “I think I just became best friends with your wife.” And this is like after talking for like ten minutes. It was awesome.

Tyler Wrezinski: Classic 2, man. Classic 2.

Brad Johnson: They hit it off right out of the gates, which is fun. So, I’m going to go back to kind of your growth trajectory, just to give some context for everybody listening in. So, you joined Triad. At that point, you are insurance-focused very early on in the Triad journey. Got your 65. You’re like, hey, to your point, I’m like, we want to start to expand how we help people, add more tools in the arsenal and two years in, so you started managing assets pretty much throughout the beginning of 2022. You now have at the beginning of 2024 when we record this so just over two years in, now 50 million under management in two short years, which is awesome. Last year, brought in north of 35 million of total assets, obviously a mix between annuities for the fixed income side, AUM, obviously for the growth side, did a pretty decent chunk of life insurance. So, a really holistic approach to how you’re serving your clients. But what are some of the learnings or maybe hurdles along the way that you might be able to share that help some advisors out there?

Andrew Hall: I think of big things like a mindset focus, like a mindset shift, where it’s shifting from this like, “Hey, I’m a sales-oriented advisor that is trying to definitely making an impact in somebody’s life. I’m definitely solving a problem in somebody’s life with this particular product, right? Or I’m selling a tax problem, or I’m solving a risk problem or an income problem, and then that’s great.” Is that mind shift of like now it’s becoming full-on leaders in these people’s lives. Like that’s it. And, Brad, something that you’ve said many times that really sticks with me is we can get now it’s all of a sudden, there’s no more decision points. There’s no more this income rider or this life insurance probably, this rate, this stock, this bond, this mutual fund, this whatever. It’s just like, “Do you want to work with us? Yes or no?” It simplifies everything. We have a hashtag here now, #CSPR, which is Complexity Simplified, Possibility Realized. And like the fact that we’ve added more, the fact that we’ve added AUM and are now doing that with AUM in life insurance, annuities, and estate planning and all that different things, even though there’s more pieces of the puzzle, everything has gotten simpler. So, it’s like we’ve added more tools in our arsenal but it just makes it simpler. I guess it’s like if you’re fixing a plumbing pipe and all you have is a saw, it’ll work but it’s a real pain in the you know what. But now, if I have a whole tool bag for absolutely everything I can do, I can fix that pipe in two seconds because I have everything I need.

Brad Johnson: I love that little short little statement, that phrase, complexity simplified. And then what was the second part of that?

Andrew Hall: Possibility realized.

Brad Johnson: Possibility realized. Love that. Yeah. You hit something there at the end, Andrew, that the word fiduciary has been weaponized in finance because it’s my opinion but I see this almost fiduciary fee-only where those are interchangeable for some people. And it’s like, no, that’s how you get paid versus what you’re legally obligated to do the best interest of your client. And the argument I will always make to your tool analogy, more tools in the toolbox to solve more problems is almost always better in every scenario, assuming tools are used properly, right? And that’s where I’m like it’s really tough to say I’m fee only and fiduciary if you eliminate a massive amount of tools that are even possible to be in the toolbox with that statement. And obviously, my opinion, there can be some out there that will argue that opinion but that’s the thing that’s always and it’s really confusing when you’re a consumer, you’re a retiree and you don’t know the difference. You got people doubting marketing messages at you. Yeah, so.

Andrew Hall: It drives me insane. It blows my mind. Like, literally, I can’t even wrap my brain around the fact that somebody calls themselves a fiduciary, but like can’t sell any type of life insurance, can’t sell any type of annuities, can’t do like whether it’s good or not for the individual, whether it fits in their life or not is irrelevant. It’s like, how can you literally put their best interests at heart if you don’t even have the tools that they need to succeed in the life that they want to succeed? Like, how can you even do that?

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: Hey, there’s that passion I was looking for. Why have you been bottling up this whole time?

Andrew Hall: It literally drives me that this is like the number one. It’s like one of my hot-button interests, if you can’t tell. It like literally drives me insane that you can say that and not do X, Y, and Z. And on the flip side of things, I know guys that only sell life insurance, that only sell, that will literally play in circles around people that just call themselves a fiduciary. They will literally do better things in people’s lives, create more possibility and freedom in people’s lives than the fiduciary can, if simply they can call themselves a fiduciary. It’s like it comes down to like on Top Gun 2 or Maverick, right, it’s fifth-generation fighters, blah, blah, blah. It’s all about the man in the box, the pilot in the box. Like, man, that drives me nuts. I’ll say this is sort of weaponized. Drives me nuts.

Tyler Wrezinski: I’ll say this in a slightly different way. I think the financial service industry has done a great job of teaching the American public how to buy their products, but they’ve done a very poor job of teaching the American public how to plan to accomplish their goals using their finances. Everybody, all the millions of dollars being spent on marketing are meant so that people will put their money with the companies so the company can make money off of it. And there are very few companies or even individuals out there who are truly focused on saying, “You have these goals. You want to go RVing with your spouse. You want to retire early. You want to have your toes in the sand. We’re going to help you actually accomplish those goals and use the tools to get that,” rather than, “I’m going to sell whatever because this month, this quarter, we get a bonus on that particular thing.” And so, it goes back to the entire idea of putting other people first. When we have a life of significance, it’s not about us. It’s about others. If our business is going to be significant, it’s not about the business itself. It’s about others. It’s about, you know, that’s where you find that significance, man. And it drives me crazy, too. Andrew. I’m not going to get as fired up as you about it.

Brad Johnson: Well, what’s kind of fun like I love that on your side, Tyler. It’s so true. It’s like at the end of the day, if you really like zoom out, people, depending on their background, maybe work 20, 30, 40 years, they’re saving up this nest egg and a million, $2 million, maybe more, maybe less. And then they reach this destination, which they don’t even know what it is because they’ve just had some, most times, an imaginary number in their head of like, “When I have a million, I think that will be the day.” Right? And then I heard it said once you go from it a done for you. You think when you’re working, your health care is covered. It just comes out of the paycheck. You know, your 401(k) is funded. It just comes out of the paycheck when you retire. Now, it’s do it yourself, unless you have help, unless you have a true person right there beside you guiding you along the way where you can actually say, “Hey, I’ve got a million bucks. I don’t have any clue how this should be allocated to get my toes in the sand.” Take that family RV trip. Spend with confidence. Like, think about how many broke millionaires, multi-millionaires there are because they’ve got all this money but they’re scared to spend it, which is so sad, you know? So, I love that take. Have you seen that a lot? Like ,let’s go to like real-world scenarios. You’ve got a client with a $1 million, $2 million, $5 million, and they’re like sitting there hoarding it, like they can’t spend it. Is that a common thing?

Andrew Hall: I see it all the time and like that also drives me nuts. It’s like you’ve done this your whole time. Like, my dad’s a perfect example of this, actually. Like my dad, all he wants to do in his life is buy this 1965 Corvette. Like, that’s it. It’s all he wants. And he literally has the money right now in cash in his bank account to do it. But like he can’t pull the trigger for whatever reason. He’s like worried that something else is going to happen. You know, he worked for WorldCom. He lost his entire retirement savings. He was like 54 years old. So, he went from $1 million to literally nothing, built himself back up again, retire. And now he’s like he got this trauma, this baggage that he had a very hard time of spending his money. Now, that’s his scenario. It’s something unique. But like I see that happen all the time. There’s somebody I’m actually thinking about right now. She has $3 million. She lives off of her Social Security, and she works part-time at a library just because it’s something for her to do. Her daughter has like this debt. It’s like $30,000 in student loan debt and she really wants to pay it off. She wants to give her daughter this life, and she wants to pay the student loan debt off for her daughter but she’s scared. She’s like she’s scared to do it. And all of a sudden, now I have $2,970,000. Is that going to affect your life at all? Like, it won’t.

Brad Johnson: Let’s talk about that because…

Andrew Hall: I try to get that out and she’s actually not a client of mine. Real quick, not to cut you off. She’s not a client of mine. I help her through a nonprofit I work with, and I try to help her pro bono all the time. And I was like, literally, so talk about that passion. I was like screaming at her on the phone the other day, like, “Like, this is all this awesome stuff you can do.” And she finally was like, “You’re right. I need to stop thinking about what everybody else thinks and just do it.” I said, “You’re right. You know, like, get out of your own way.

Brad Johnson: Well, that goes to the leadership thing we talked about where early on you’re selling products. You know, you’re on this finite game of, “Oh, I got to hit my quota for the year to where infinite game is.” How can you show up in this life to impact others in a positive way, be a leader to them, right? And that lady needs to hear that. And that’s coming from a place of love and trying to inspire her to, like, not die with $3 million in the bank. And I just pulled up, by the way, guys, your mission control, which for those unfamiliar, that’s one of the things we do for all Triad members, which is really dialing in your vision where you’re headed for the team. So, you’re all clear on the destination. And then the second part is really the brand manifesto. We’ve done a lot of work with Chris Smith. But what we’re known for, it’s actually your hashtag, right? What we’re known for is simplifying complexity so you can realize what’s possible. The true outcome of our work is the freedom and courage to make what’s possible real. So, like, even these stories right here, it’s almost like part of the mission that you’re on as a company is to kind of help people unwind this complexity or baggage that you just talked about, like all the psychological baggage they’re bringing in so that they can actually realize what they want, the possibility that they want out of retirement. So, Tyler, do you have a take on that? I see you kind of nodding your head or waiting to jump in over there.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah. I’m not waiting to jump. And I’m listening and learning from you guys. It’s just there’s a lot there that we can unpack. We could do six of these shows and talk about that stuff. But, you know, really at its core, what we’re talking about is helping people and so much for our industries focused on sales. I’ll go back to it again. Every company out there says, “Hey, if you sell enough, we’ll take you to the Bahamas or we’ll take you to Mexico or take you to Europe,” and they dangle this carrot out there as a sales incentive. And what we’re really talking about here is something very different than sales. What we’re talking about here is building into people’s lives and building a business. You know, Andrew and I, we each have teams in our office. Our teams doubled in our Bloomington office here in the last two years. And that’s all about helping people. And so, I think when it comes down to like the sales side or the conversations we’re having with our clients, it’s not about the product. We have to move past that. We don’t have any magic product, Brad. Like, there’s nothing that’s the Tyler and Andrew magical silver bullet mutual fund. And we have the same stuff everybody else has with maybe a few wrinkles that we have access to. But for the most part, it’s the same stuff everybody else has. What we really are trying to do is put those tools in a way that can help people.

And so, our conversations now, when we’re sitting across the desk from clients, they’re going from product, “Hey, check out this cool illustration. Look what it’s going to do to you or do to your financial life or do to you.” And then we’re really just pushing through what’s meaningful in your life. How can we accomplish what is meaningful? I have a client right now. He wants to build a million-and-a-half-dollar house in two years in Tennessee on a golf course, right on a lake. It’s gorgeous. Right? It’s going to be amazing. He has the plans. He brings men with him when we meet. His question is, “How can I get it done?” We’re not talking about products or process or tools. We’re literally sitting there and talking about his dream and helping him have the confidence to do it. He’s worth $6 million. He can build the house. He just wants to have the confidence to know he’s doing it the right way. And so, in order to give people that confidence, we’ve sacrificed and worked really hard to get to the point where we can communicate in those terms, where we can show people, we can back up what they’re trying to accomplish and give them the courage to do it. And ultimately, what our practices are really becoming is like little factories of courage, where one by one we’re cranking out courageous people who are going from a life of success in their working careers to a life of significance in their retirement careers.

And what we’re really trying to do is we’re using some widgets but those widgets are just creating more courage for them to leap into that abundant life of significance more. And I can speak about this passionately, Andrew can too because it’s something we want for ourselves. When I sit down across from somebody who’s 60, 65, one of the great things about working with people who are retired as a younger person is I know I’m almost there. It’s right around the corner. I’ll be that age just in the blink of an eye. It’ll happen like that. And I want the courage to be able to do that just like I want to give it to them. And we didn’t get there by ourselves. We became a better version of ourselves, but we had to help. Right? Andrew and I both became better versions of who we once were, and we committed to that. We didn’t know exactly what we were committing to when we said yes but we knew that there was a better version of us out there and we had help. You referenced the different documents and things, the launch plan, and our brand manifesto, and all this stuff. We didn’t do that ourselves. It’s easy to sit here on a podcast and talk about this stuff, and people listening go, “Wow. How are Andrew and Tyler so smart to get there?” But we had partners. We had people who believed in us that we in turn believed in, and we partnered and worked on it together. And that’s the type of thing we want to bring to our clients to know that, “Hey, we’re not asking you to do anything we didn’t do ourselves.”

When a client sits across from us, we’re only asking them to come along on this journey the same one we did as well, and the same one we’re currently doing. Have the courage to step out and do that. And we can be bold to our clients and just tell them that. I tell the story all the time about when I met Triad. There’s two big moments in my life that changed my life permanently, when I married my wife and when I said yes to Triad. Those put me and, Brad, I see you smiling right there but I want you to know that I…

Andrew Hall: I would agree with that.

Tyler Wrezinski: Dude, I want you to know those are two giant…

Andrew Hall: When I married my wife. Not yours.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah, those are two giant life-changing moments. I said yes to something that was hard, and I didn’t know how hard it would be. My wife and I have been married 16 years. There’s been ups and downs. There’s been really hard moments. I’ve been doing this business for 20 years. There’s been up and downs, really hard moments. And before I start doing either of these things, stuff with Triad, this stuff with my wife, marriage, I didn’t know how hard it was going to be but it’s growing me. And now I have a wife that I can impact, children that I can impact. My kids’ friends, they come over to my house. I get to have conversations with them, impact them, and my business was the same thing. We’re just challenging our clients to say yes to being impacted by what we can do.

Andrew Hall: Yeah, that’s awesome. And a few things real quick. 9, epic saga. I’ll keep it short.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Andrew Hall: Nines and sevens. All right. So, yeah, it was funny. We came home from launch the other day, last week or a couple of weeks ago, and we are sitting in our living room. I looked at my wife and I was like, “Could you imagine what our lives would be like if we never met them?” And she just goes, “I don’t even want to think about it.” It’s like it’s one of those like I don’t even like it scares the hell out of me to wonder where I would be at right now if Triad never entered our lives in more than multiple ways in my life, which is like, “Whew, thank you. Thank you, God.” But the thing is you said a couple of things real quick, like Daniel Crosby says it, right? He’s a genius. And he wrote the book, The Laws of Wealth. Great book. But he said, “Would you actually, guys, brought him into the community and we did a Zoom call a while ago with him, and he said something there. It stuck with me, like, “Why would you want to do this by yourself? Like, why would you want like why? Like, the best financial advisors in the world have their own financial advisor. Like, you’re too close to it emotionally, right? Why would you want to do this yourself? And I think, like, oftentimes people look at things too hard. They think things through too much, like a bit of a parable I guess you will. I was watching Fargo, the show the other night, which also, by the way, great show if you haven’t seen that show.

Brad Johnson: And I just started watching the season one. I loved the movie, the original.

Andrew Hall: Yeah. The movie is great, the show. I’m in season two right now, and in season two, the guy tells a story about how he goes this one day the guy, a factory worker or a factory boss got in his head that the factory worker was stealing. And so, every single night on the way out of work, the security would stop him and his wheelbarrow, and they would check his wheelbarrow. They check him. They check absolutely everything. They couldn’t find anything. He’d go on his way, and they kept checking him and checking him, and they just keep going on his way. But what the guy was actually stealing was the wheelbarrow itself. And so, oftentimes you’re looking for an answer or you’re looking at something so intently or looking for this so deeply that like the real answer is just right in front of your face, hiding in plain sight. And it’s the same with our lives. It’s the same with our finances, right? It’s like oftentimes people come to these workshops like, “Oh, I know about Roth conversions, but what else can you tell me about tax planning XYZ?” It’s like, “Well, have you done the Roth conversion?” “Well, no.” “Well, start there. Then we can get to all these other things that are possible.” It’s like you’re seeking an answer, but you just like take what’s given to you first.

And Tyler and I talked about this with our faith and like the Holy Spirit, “Lord, give me more holy spirit, give me one of the things,” and the Lord is like, “I’ve given it to you, like, do something with it, and then I’ll give you more and more and more and more and more.” So, like, man, like it’s right there in front of you. You can do so much with it. I don’t know. Now, I’m just at a loss of my mind, but this conversation is kind of blowing my mind.

Brad Johnson: No, no, it’s good. There’s a quote that keeps popping up in my life. Actually, I was just talking with James out in Scottsdale, and I don’t even remember how we got on the topic, but it was basically to your point of like using the gifts you’re given versus the pursuit of more. And there was a quote, you can be rich two ways. You can get everything you want or you can want everything you have. And it’s so much of that in life it’s just like the lens you’re looking through. It’s in abundance or is it scarcity? You know, and I love that take. So, I want to go to, we’ve talked about a lot of kind of what we pulled out as far as why your business exists, what you do for your clients. The coaches, Ryan and Nick, were just sharing with me the other day and they’re like, “Man, make sure when you’re on this conversation with Tyler and Andrew, ask them about the team rollout because one of the things we haven’t talked about, you mentioned a little bit, Tyler, like your gratefulness for your team, and obviously it’s grown pretty substantially since you’ve joined Triad. But I feel like oftentimes in finance, unfortunately, there’s this focus on client’s prospects and the team is forgotten. And you really like poured into them recently, really said, “Hey, here’s the vision, here’s where we’re headed, here’s what it’s going to take to get there,” and really pouring into the team has been a very common characteristic of the firms I’ve seen scale the quickest, with alignment, with a great culture. So, how has some of that work impacted the team?

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah. I think that there’s not a single person on our team who comes here and just punches the clock. And one of the things that we do that’s very practical is on our Monday morning meetings when we get together, I should probably plan that. It’d be pretty cool to have a brain Monday morning meeting, but on our Monday morning meetings, when we get together, we spend the first 15 or 20 minutes really just on culture, culture and vision. You know, you guys have said it a bunch of times, culture is kind of the secret sauce. It’s the secret ingredient that makes this entire thing go. And so, we actually spend 15, 20 minutes to half an hour before we jump into what’s going on this week, what needs to be taken care of, what fires are getting put out. That stuff is always going to be there. Daily aggravation is just part of life. But we step back and start our week with this idea of culture and vision. And as a result of implementing some of that brand manifesto stuff, our teams started to use that language not just with our clients, but with each other. One of the things that we talk about around here is like, I’m the leader. I have the leadership position in our office, so I have to make leadership decisions. But everybody’s responsible for culture. We’re all leader when it comes to culture. We all show up in a meaningful way in each other’s lives when it comes to culture. That is a language I did not have two years ago. It was a language I didn’t live. I wasn’t showing up in my team’s life. I mean, shame on me. I look back on it now and I go, “Who did I think I was?” And now we’re starting to show up in each other’s lives in a real way. We took a whole day to sit down, go over our brand manifesto, our vision, to roll that out with our team. And, as the leader…

Andrew Hall: There was a pizza buffet. It’s awesome.

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah, it was great. We had a pizza buffet. Yeah. And as the leader, it was my responsibility, Andrew’s responsibility, our wives’ responsibility to put a framework around that, to say, “Hey, we’re crafting a vision. This is where we want to go.” But then everybody in our team has blown me away with how much they’re able to buy into that. When we’re able to learn and then use language to communicate that to them in a way that helps them understand how that it’ll make their life better. You know, there’s a few ways you can make people’s lives better, and sometimes it’s by leaving their life. And we don’t ever want anybody in our office to feel like, “My life’s better now that I’ve left here.” And so, like, one really practical thing, Brad, that we’ve done, you know, we started a 401(k) for our clients or for our team, rather. And that was something that we never had and we never intended to have. But one of the cool things that we decided we want to do is like we looked at the 401(k) and we said, “What would we want? Like, if we were employed somewhere and we wanted to have a 401(k), what kind of match would we want?” And so, we gave our team a 10% match, which nobody, we don’t have a single employer within, I don’t even know of anybody who gets that. And so, like now when I’m talking to my team and I’m talking about building into them, it’s easy to feel hypocritical when you talk about that because as a leader, you feel like you can never do enough.

You just feel like and it’s easy to go look at yourself and go, “Man, here’s where I’ve fallen short.” But now as a leader, we can say we put our money where our mouth is. We’ve shown people that we care by giving them the type of 401(k) match that they’ll never see anywhere else. And we’re building into other areas to do that too. But now when we open up our mouth and talk to people, I’ve talked to our team about this stuff. It’s not only aspirational. We hope to become something where we’re actually on the process of becoming it, and we’re pushing through and growing in that area hugely. And our teams started to echo those things back. They’re starting to echo back this language of significance, the framework we’ve built into our first brand. And so, that rollout was a really powerful moment for our team and put it all out there. And then when we start to back it up with real, tangible things that make their life better like better benefits than any employer in town. And by the way, this is a life hack for small offices. We can afford to give everybody a 10% match. The employer here in a town, State Farm, who has 15,000 people employed in our town, they can’t afford to give a 10% match. We can do things from a competitive stance. When we’re competing for talent and recruiting people in, we can afford to do things that other companies can’t afford to do, and it gives us a competitive edge. And so, there’s a lot of benefits to that along the way.

Andrew Hall: I think I…

Brad Johnson: I want to…

Andrew Hall: It adds…

Tyler Wrezinski: Go ahead, Brad. Go ahead.

Brad Johnson: Well, just the one thing that comes to mind and I’m just going to share another Chris Smith’s on language creates. And I heard two things there on your side, Tyler. The first one is how you did this work, I mean, that was not easy work to distill a lot of that language out of you. And I love, I want to point out that, I think, sometimes, in business, people just think, oh, well, if I just show up, like this stuff’s gifted to me and it’s like some magic bullet. I remember somebody saying hard work or success is hard work with maybe a nice little adjective in there. And you guys worked at it. But now, you’re working to actually make it come to reality and that’s reps. Like, when you’re tired of saying something, you’re like 50% of the way done before your team latches onto that language.

On the other side, I love that you took the vision of, like, we’re going to be one of the best places to work in town, and the only way we’re going to do that is if we have some of the best benefits in town, so we can attract the talent we need to get there. And so, I love that you are actually declaring that, like, that’s a vision for your team and the culture you want to create. And you’re kind of putting the vision out there. This is where we’re headed. But you’re backing it up with actually executing on it. So, I love that. Andrew, you were going to hop in and say something.

Andrew Hall: I was just going to say, like, the nice thing about that language creates is absolutely right. Chris Smith says it, and I completely, wholeheartedly agree. It’s probably the single, it’s the number one tool we have in our arsenal to create impact in people’s lives, is the language that we use. But yeah, so with this whole vision thing and rolling out the team, now we’re all on the same page. And like when Tyler said, “No, we’re actually living this vision,” all I could think about was that we went to this golf pizza buffet thing. All I could think of after we rolled out the vision is if we went out back and smoked a pack of Marlboro Reds afterwards.

But what Victor said in a podcast that you had with him, it’s like if your whole team, you want to go to Albuquerque and somebody on the team is like, “No, let’s go to Austin,” well, here off the bus. Get off the bus. We can get there faster. And so, I always think about, like, we all got to be rolling in the same direction, we’re all rowing a boat, we’re all in the lifeboat together, and we’re all trying to get to shore, we’re all rowing. We have to row in the same direction. If someone’s rowing in the opposite direction, it’s going to make everything a heck of a lot harder. And so, when we make decisions now as an organization or even as our life decisions, it’s like we have a true north and it’s really, really simple to make decisions now because you say, just point to the wall, right? Like, does this decision, does that embody that? Yes or no? If the answer is no, it’s an easy toss away. Do Business, Do Life, is it decision what we’re going to make? Does that embody that? No. Okay, easy decision. Gone. Off the table, right? So, you’re going to the point right at it.

Tyler Wrezinski: You’re so right. It’s a phrase that we can all look at as a team and go, “Oh, hey, this doesn’t live up to our standard. We’re not doing this.” And that vision to be able to see through all the crap that’s out there, marketing ideas or a client that could maybe solve a lot of problems because they’re a big client, but they’re not the right client and as a team member, we recently had a team member who was a great gal who came through and it just wasn’t a good match. And so, she decided, we’d kind of jointly decided that she was going to move on together. But rather than allowing this culture of kind of backbiting in our office or talking about her or saying anything about her afterwards, the conversation was really simple. There’s trust, right? We said, “Hey, the the best thing for this gal is she’s going to be moving on and pursuing a different opportunity. We’re so happy every time she was here. We hope she learned something and can grow in the next opportunity for her.” And that’s establishing trust with our team as well.

But all of that is coming from a place of, like, just creating this culture of trust for our team and that bleeds over with clients. When our clients walk in, they see the way we interact with each other. They hear people talking to each other. They see the way things are moving. They hear the language from our team and from us. And man, that bleeds over. People just get a sense of it. And just like when we sat around that fire in Napa, Brad, and I remember saying to my wife that night, only back here, I remember saying, “How in the world– they’ve done such a good job of making me want to say yes, how can we possibly say no?” There was a magnetic pull. And I think that magnetic pull was more than just putting up some stagecraft creating something fake. What it really was, was when people who are like-minded sit across from each other, their souls talk to each other, their minds interact. We can see each other’s face. We can see that there’s something meaningful there. And that resonated around that fire in Napa, it resonated when I was standing in that pool with Big Keith, just hanging out.

Brad Johnson: For three straight nights. So, you were obviously enjoying yourself.

Tyler Wrezinski: Well, it’s Napa, Brad.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Hey, I was too. I was too. I’m not taking any– no judgment.

Andrew Hall: I still got those shoes on. I got them on right now. It actually says DBDL on the tag instead of our office.

Tyler Wrezinski: I’ll just finish with this thought is that one of the things we think about in our office is how do we create that magnetic pull for clients when they walk through the door, there they go, “There’s something special happening here, and I don’t want to not be part of it. I don’t want to miss.” As much as they maybe want to be part of it, they’re equally a part of them that’s saying, “I don’t want to not be part of this because this is special. It’s something I’m not going to get anywhere else.”

Brad Johnson: The word that comes to mind, which you both just kind of riffed on there around vision and then how that bleeds into the team, it’s like this filtering system. It does, Mike I’ll probably butcher this, but the more success you have or significance in this case, the more distractions show up masquerading as opportunities, right? And this filtering system, that’s been so true for us, Do Business, Do Life, even the speakers you bring on the stage. Does that align with the mission we’re on? Because there’s some really famous people out there that would make some great Facebook shots and probably say something inspirational. But do they actually align with what we’re about as a community? And it’s helped us stay true to it.

But the point, Tyler, on exiting team members, that is one of the most difficult things to do. And we have this thing, we call them bad words. At Triad, firing is a bad word. To me, firing is such, like, I’m the king in the castle and you’re out of here. To us, the way we look at it, it’s like there’s transitions, there’s seasons in life. And some team members are going to come on for a season. It might be a shorter season. It might be a year. Because guess what? Their lives change too. Just because they work at your company doesn’t mean their lives is not changing and evolving. And you’ll have some shorter seasons, some longer seasons. And to your point, like as long as you stay true to here’s the mission we’re on, here’s where we’re headed, it’s actually more fair to them to let them know of, like, hey, am I on board for that? Or am I not really about that and I should be doing something else? And it’s just like, I see people that aren’t true on that. They wonder why they have a toxic culture. It’s like, because half your team’s not even here for the reason you want them to be here. You haven’t told them that. So, that’s on you. You hired them. You know what I mean? So, not to rip too deep on that, but it’s something I’m pretty passionate about.

Tyler Wrezinski: You know what’s interesting too about that, Brad? As the leader, I was like one of the last guys to know that that person wasn’t a good fit. Like, the rest of our team knew it before I did. And so, I owed it to our team, the remainder of our team to show integrity in protecting the culture, putting the business first above maybe my fear of having a hard conversation above maybe my worry about we need this person to do something. The rest of the team was looking at me and waiting for me to realize that this was a scenario, and it became very clear that if I was going to maintain integrity in front of the rest of our team, the way we treated that situation was being watched. Was I going to be mad? Was I going to make a power play? Or was I going to treat somebody with dignity while still honoring the amazing culture that we have and protecting it?

As a leader, you’re a gatekeeper. It’s my responsibility to put this business above nearly everything else because of what it does for all the people who are here. Business doesn’t protect itself. It’s protected by me. When I protect it well, everybody else in our team protects it. They don’t bring in people who aren’t a good culture match. They’re aware of clients and they go, “Hey, maybe this person’s not a great match for us, Tyler.” They all begin to protect it the same way that I would. They’re starting to have an ownership mentality rather than an employee mentality.

Brad Johnson: So true. And you said something that I think oftentimes, people get wrong. Ann Hiatt who was a few episodes back, who was early on in Amazon and sat like a desk over from Jeff Bezos, she said, like, because leadership structure and obviously, there’s the CEO, and she said Jeff Bezos inverted the pyramid. So, instead of the leader at the top, the leader was at the bottom supporting the team. And that’s just kind of what you said, like, “Hey, it’s my job to support the team and honor what we’re about. And if that takes me having a tough conversation,” which, by the way, it doesn’t matter how many times you have them. They still suck. They’re not fun. But it’s for the team, not for yourself or your own pride or ego. And the best leaders are the ones that show up that way from my experience. So, I love that take. Well, boys, time has flown.

Andrew Hall: Bummer.

Brad Johnson: And I know, I knew it would. I knew it would. I’ve got one final question here, but before I get to it, any kind of last thoughts on anything we’ve covered today before we go into the last question of the conversation today at least?

Tyler Wrezinski: That’s a dangerous question to ask a 9. He has 47 last thoughts and a story for each one of them.

Andrew Hall: Yeah, that’s a pretty dangerous question.

Tyler Wrezinski: And I’m a 7, so I just don’t want the phone to stop.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Hey, me too. I feel that. All right.

Andrew Hall: I’m kind of there with you.

Brad Johnson: Okay. Well, let’s go to the final question. I’ll let each of you share your own version. So, obviously, this is the Do Business, Do Life podcast. That’s also our mission here at Triad. And so, I would love each of your definitions of what does do business, do life mean to you.

Andrew Hall: So, I’ll go. This has changed for me as well early on and still, to this day, every time I hear this question on your podcast, the first thing that always pops in my head is just do business with the people you want to do life with, period, like, in its most simple form. To say like we talked about, oh, you don’t want, like, just because a client has $4 or $5 million and could do really great things for our business, it doesn’t mean we want to do business with that person because our values don’t match up, our goals don’t match up. We’re just not a good fit. Doing business with Triad is a no-brainer because, like, when we get to go to the family reunion or one of the founders retreat experience, those are like my friends. When you look at John Merkel and Dylan Bond, they don’t even know each other. And that’s the greatest friendship I’ve ever seen. That friendship can literally move mountains and…

Brad Johnson: They’re bromance rivals here, guys. It’s one and two, I mean.

Andrew Hall: Insane. I mean they win. Their bromance is out of control and then to…

Tyler Wrezinski: I don’t want to be that close frankly too much.

Andrew Hall: That was, like, every time I see them at these experiences that my face lights up and it’s like you guys created that, right? You’re doing business with people you want to do life with. And I think that’s really, really important. And then as it’s transformed and we’ve talked about all day during this podcast not to get too crazy with it, like, doing business that literally impacts the life and the life of the people going around you, the work that we do, yeah, sure, we can go sell products and yeah, might make a positive impact on somebody’s life potentially or protect them potentially. But, like, is that really, truly impacting their life?

And so, when we’re doing business to create impact on people’s lives, words like pay the dividends they’re receiving on their money, pay on comparison to the returns that they’re receiving on their life because of that. And I think that the business that we do with Triad, for example, pays on comparison to what you guys have meant for my life. So, I know that when somebody texts me and says, “How are you doing, Brad?” You ask if there’s anything we can do for you with our situation like we have, for those that don’t know, we’re having twins. And it’s a whole big deal. And there’s a lot that’s going to be going on in our lives in the next couple of months. And you said at the beginning of this, like, “Hey, if there’s anything that we can do, I don’t know what we can do, but if it’s anything we can do, let us know.” I know that you mean that. Like, I know that you mean that.

So many people say, “Oh, there’s anything I can do,” okay, great. Nobody really, truly means that going back to, like, be a man of your word, right? You really, truly mean that. And I know that. And that’s enough. And it’s like, that’s literally impacting my life. So, the business that we’ve created is literally impacting the lives that we have. And it’s like you want to be enjoyed and supported and your friends to enjoy and support the work that you do. And it just spreads out everywhere. So, that’s what’s kind of become for me, do business with people you want to do life with and through your business, impact the life and everybody’s lives around you so that they can impact other lives. And really, at the end of the day, when our lives are over, those who joined us on this path, we’ll keep going with that and inspire others to join them, too. And that’s what it’s all about.

Brad Johnson: Of that, Tyler, what’s your take?

Tyler Wrezinski: Yeah. For me, Brad, I think, DBDL is both a challenge and an invitation to challenge, to growth. And it’s an invitation to a more meaningful life.

Brad Johnson: Well put, my man. Hey, that’s the shortest answer anybody’s had on this whole conversation the whole time. Well thought out. I appreciate that.

Tyler Wrezinski: Andrew went on long enough that I can formulate the thought.

Andrew Hall: That’s why I was doing it. That’s why I was doing it. I know you need it, man.

Brad Johnson: That’s why you guys make such a great team. As one of our coaches tells Shawn and I, our differences are our strengths. Well, guys, Happy Friday and really loved every minute of this conversation. So, thanks for hopping on and sharing your journey. And I promise there’s a lot of advisors out there listening. And it’s going to make a dent on where they’re headed both in business and life.

Andrew Hall: Best is yet to come.

Brad Johnson: So, appreciate it, guys. All right. Till next time.

Tyler Wrezinski: All right.

Andrew Hall: All right.

Disclosure

DBDL podcast episode conversations are intended to provide financial advisors with ideas, strategies, concepts and tools that could be incorporated into their business and their life. Financial professionals are responsible for ensuring implementation of anything discussed related to business is done so in accordance with any and all regulatory, compliance responsibilities and obligations.

The Triad member statements reflect their own experience which may not be representative of all Triad Member experiences, and their appearances were not paid for.

Copyright ©️ 2024 Triad Partners. All rights reserved.

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