Dillan Micus’ FRESH View on Leadership Comes from the Bottom, Not the Top

by Alison Bailin Batz

Dillan Micus believes in systems. He also believes in breaking down antiquated systems to effect real change for the better as it relates to his own life, team and clients. This lesson, one he is putting into action today, is something he learned the hard way.

Until recently, Micus served as executive vice president of Equitable Advisors — then AXA Advisors Southwest — since 2005. The highest-ranking officer in the region, Micus helped successfully build the group from a few hundred thousand dollars of assets under management to one of the best-performing divisions of the firm nationwide.

“I also drove myself into the ground, personally and professionally, which at the time is what I thought I needed to do to be successful,” says Micus, who continuously exceeded growth and financial goals by recruiting, retaining and supervising the best and brightest talent on the market for nearly a decade in his role. “It took years to develop processes and products while simultaneously building a company culture that attracted and retained top talent, but it was only part of the equation.”

Micus was burning the candle at both ends for years. He was also focused on everyone and everything beside himself.

“Actually, is there an option for more than both ends, because that was me,” says Micus, who was leading his firm while volunteering extensively in the community, first with the Boys & Girls Clubs and then Thunderbirds plus hosting an annual charitable gala of his own and spending all his spare time on activities outside the office.

Something had to give. And it did.

In 2017, his priorities had clearly changed so drastically that it was impacting everything else in his life.

“I had so many problems, dating all the way back to my childhood, which especially showed themselves when I drank,” says Micus, who got sober that year as a Step One toward his new life and leadership style.

As he took back control of his life and his team, things got much clearer.

“I think so many of us put business and family first, then friends and commitments, then last on the list is ourselves,” says Micus. “Once I started taking care of myself, I saw burnout, exhaustion and rapidly declining health among my team members and many of my clients, especially the outwardly hyper-successful ones.”

Over the past five years, Micus has worked not only on himself, but on a leadership and mentorship program to encourage and teach team members and even clients how to find balance as well as plan ahead and develop boundaries so they have more time, money and energy for the things they really love.

“Earlier this year, I left my executive leadership role at Equitable after 17 years to found 345 Wealth Management, a financial services firm on comprehensive planning as it relates to the accumulation, distribution and transfer of wealth — but on my terms,” says Micus.

Team members at 345 Wealth Management can expect a FRESH perspective from Micus, literally.

FRESH, an acronym for Finances, Relationships, Education, Spirituality and Health, was developed by Micus in partnership with functional nutritionist and biometric expert Ashley Grimmel, who works with elite athletes that include Olympians, UFC fighters, PGA players and NFL stars. The step-by-step program identifies obstacles in life and provides coaching — including virtual and one-on-one time with Micus himself — to help overcome them, knowing that challenges in one area in our lives affect the others.

“I am also working to educate my team versus give them product to sell, which is a game changer,” says Micus. “I’ve spent more than 20 years understanding every single intricacy of the processes and products that impact our clients’ financial freedom, including estate planning, asset management, business continuation, qualified plans, the tax code, market conditions, client behaviors and more. In supporting and developing a new generation of specialists, we are empowering them to chart their own paths,” says Micus.

As a result, Micus’ firm grew to nearly 20 team members in its first 90 days in business. He has also launched a series of programs to help clients as well, including a tax planning strategy, given the ever-changing market, designed to help clients reduce their tax liability risk when it matters most, so they can do more of what they love, and a series of risk transfer strategies to take the pressure off clients and team members despite the current market conditions.  

What’s in a Name?

There is a meaning behind the 3, 4 and 5 in 345 Wealth Management.

3: Represents the three buckets of money where clients’ assets may be allocated.

4: Represents the four tax quadrants where assets fall, impacting how each will be taxed during each phase of the investment.

5: Represents the five strategies used to customize a plan using the buckets and quadrants to ensure clients have more time, money to do what they love.

Did You Know: Dillan Micus’ FRESH (Finances, Relationships, Education, Spirituality and Health) approach to work and life is being piloted by a large university in the Southwest and a California-based music business. Plans are in place to launch it nationwide over the next 24 months.

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