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Interns Ask, CEO Answers: Questions for Ed Deutschlander

Deutschlander-Ed-2014-with-Background.jpgSeveral North Star Resource Group interns across the country were asked: if they could ask our CEO, Ed Deutschlander (pictured left), any question and only one question, what would it be? Many have had the pleasure to meet or speak with Ed, who has served as North Star’s CEO since January 2016. Ed is an accomplished author, recruiter, leader, and world-renowned speaker.

Below are several questions asked by interns and answered by Ed:


ANDREW CRAMPE (Boston, MA)

“What did it take for you to be where you are now and what were some of the challenges you faced during that process?”

Ed: It takes belief, faith, discipline, work ethic, courage and most importantly a "WHY" to accomplish anything worthwhile in life. In my case I didn't have to think about a "why." My "why" happened to me at the young age of 20 when I married my wife and became a father that same year. My motivation was that I wanted to give my family the very best but most importantly I wanted to be a role model for them. I wanted to show them what belief, faith, discipline, work ethic, courage and a "why" can do by living it and providing for them. I am grateful I didn't have to think of or create a "why" as I believe that is something people can search their entire lives for.

The challenges are far too many to list but they all fall into one of three camps:

1) Individualism—only looking out for you without regard or concerns for others.

2) Hedonism—instant gratification. If it feels good now, do it. Not being long term focused.

3) Minimalism—what is the least amount of work/effort I can put in to get the most out. Most people fall victim to this.

If you have a big enough "why" you can overcome any "how.”

CHRIS THOMAS (Durham, NC)
“What were the things you did when you were in my position that allowed you to get to where you are now?”

I always want to ask the people that have “made it” what it is that they did to be so successful while they were in my stage of the process.

Ed: When I was a new advisor I used my work ethic, discipline, fear and being coachable to my advantage. Those things allowed me to be a "cold call cowboy.” That was my saving grace because when the recruiter position opened up, I was asked to take it on because I had proven myself as a very hard, driven worker who would give it my all. Little did I know that a path into management and eventually leadership was eventually in store for me. The lesson I learned is that you should always do your best and remember all that you do has your name stamped on it. You never know when a door may open up—the better decisions you make today, the more doors of tomorrow will open.

JETTE ZEISEMER (Brainerd, MN)

"What is your story on how you became the CEO of North Star Resource Group?"

Ed: The story of how I became CEO of North Star is certainly unique. While it is a little long to detail here, I will make a deal with you—you pick the place, I buy lunch and I will share this story with you. I will not leave you hanging, however, as I will share some of my lessons I learned along this journey:

1) Adversity does not only build character—it reveals character.

2) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

3) Do everything within your power to find authentic people who believe in you.

4) If it is important enough to you, you will find a way. If it isn't, you will find an excuse.

5) Know your values and never stop thinking about your "WHY"—your purpose.

6) Keep the faith—nothing ever worthwhile comes with ease or quickly.

7) Be faithful to what is helpful—find what works and stay true to it.

8) Form good habits and the right habits, they make all the difference.

9) The only way to get rich quick is by counting your blessings—do this daily—be grateful.

10) A leader's number one job is to serve those that you lead. Servant leadership is the highest calling.

BEN HARRIS (Minneapolis, MN)

“What are the qualities that you see among all of the firm’s most successful advisors?"

I feel as though there are traits among the top advisors at the firm that only someone who knows them well or has worked with them for some time can see. I think knowing what the traits and habits of the most successful advisors are would really help young advisors to try to model themselves and their practice after those who do it the best.

Ed: The traits of the most successful advisors are as follows:

1) Not afraid to fail. They don't like failing but they know it is inevitable and you have to fail at first to get better.

2) Prospecting—willing to ask people to become clients. They develop this habit and never lose it.

3) Competitive—they like to challenge themselves and win against themselves to achieve personal records.

4) They understand, respect and appreciate delayed gratification.

5) Coachable—they are smart enough to be dumb enough to listen to wiser people who have traveled the road before.

6) Others focused—they understand the importance of serving and helping others.

7) Prioritize their time—they do all they can to be in front of people.

8) They understand their gift to the world is to FIND, EDUCATE, MOTIVATE and INSPIRE people to take action on their financial future.

9) They read. Today's readers are tomorrow’s leaders.

10) They invest in their business and practice—"need to put wood in the fire if you want heat."

DANIEL DEMERITT (Boston, MA)
“What is his inspiration for stepping into the role he has is?”

I’ve had numerous conversations with him, he is an extraordinary guy. Very altruistic, selfless, and always puts others before himself.

Ed: My inspiration is the North Star purpose: Changing Lives, Forever®. The ability every day to lead, shape and guide an organization is all the inspiration I need. We can pick many paths in life where we invest our precious time and energy but to invest it in a company that not only helps clients reach financial security but also gives recent college graduates an incredible career path truly is Doing Well by Doing Good.

CAL MCKENNEY (Minnetonka, MN)

“How as a young advisor do you attract and convince potential clients that you are the right person to help manage their money, as many potential clients are often older than I am?”

I’d ask him this as he has obviously had the opportunity to come across hundreds of new advisors over the years, and I’m sure he has tips on how to make it through those tough few years at the start.

Ed: Short answer: It isn't about YOU doing their planning (we don't just manage money, we do comprehensive planning which has a subset of money management). It is about TEAMWORK with their planning. It is having perhaps as many as a dozen sets of eyes working on the client’s plan versus only one set of eyes. That is the beauty of being affiliated with North Star in that one advisor has the resources of their entire team—their mentor, all the specialists, etc...

Long Answer: This question strikes at the heart of working with a firm like North Star Resource Group and being in a mentoring/teaming environment. The North Star client experience is designed in that the client has a primary relationship with a North Star advisor (usually the person that procures the relationship with the client.) This person's responsibility is to serve as the client’s main point of contact.

The financial advisor's role as the relationship manager is to get to know the client in terms of who they are, their values, their goals, hopes, dreams and aspirations in life. Only after that can a financial plan be created. The relationship advisor is then to determine the path and manner of the various specialists within North Star to look over the client’s situation to determine what steps need to be taken in that particular financial discipline. An example is when a long-term care specialist reviews the client’s situation to determine what long-term care needs should be addressed. The investment specialist reviews the client’s situation to determine what kind of portfolio to recommend building to support the financial strategy which supports the client’s goals.  

Think of this in terms of having a team of doctors and specialists working with you to address your concerns. You may have a primary contact—however, you have many doctors and specialists reviewing your situation and providing expertise from all relevant disciplines of medicine. This goes far beyond just one doctor meeting your needs—it is about a team working collectively to assure your maximum health. This is directly comparable with what we do with our clients.

If I were new in the business and someone asked me what I did, this is how I would respond:

Thanks for asking...I am currently a financial advisor with North Star Resource Group, which is one of the oldest and largest independent privately held financial advising firms in the financial services industry. 

I am currently in a financial advisor "residency program" in which I am going through several years of training in an internationally recognized training program.

One of North Star's greatest strengths is the TEAM approach they take to guiding someone in starting and staying the course to their financial security. Although I am currently in training, I would liken it to being a resident or a fellow in training at a top hospital or medical institution in that I have access to some of the very best financial advisors in the industry that specialize in working with individuals just like you. Because of our relationship, I can provide you access to some of the finest specialists and processes that one can experience with regards to their financial well-being. When would you like me to set up a time to meet with us?

CALEB SUTTON (Minneapolis, MN)

“What makes an individual exceptional in work and in life?”

Ed has obviously stood out as exceptional person in his life and it would be great to know what individuals like him have done and have in common. This way I could gather some good life advice and simple tips to improve myself.

Ed: This quote captures it all:

The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work

And his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body,

His education and his recreation, his love and his religion.

He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of

Excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether

He is working or playing. To him, he is always doing both.

- Lawrence Pearsall, “L.P.” Jacks

HAILEE RHODES (Houston, TX)

“What has given him the drive to write and publish so many books?”

It seems he is very passionate about them and I’m curious on what his why is.

Ed: I learned a long time ago that if you can do something, then you should do it. The reason I write books is because I can. The reason I work out is because I can—one day my body may fail me and I will be longing for the days when I could run. 

When I was a first-year college student I was admitted to my college under "conditions.” The school took a chance on me if you will. I did not have the "grades" to get in. The football coach was a good man and believed in me. He fought admissions to get me in. They did under the condition I take an intro to writing course to prepare me for the academic rigors that lie ahead. That class fueled me. I learned that not only did I enjoy writing but it kind of came naturally. I get satisfaction seeing how I can overcome obstacles. I look back and think I had to take a remedial writing course to get into college, I now have written hundreds of articles and three books. I look back at being scared to give a speech in front of speech class—throwing up before, swearing I would never put myself through another speech again. I have now travelled the world speaking to tens of thousands of people. It never ceases to amaze me how life gives you challenges and you think something bad is happening to you, only to find out later these "bad" things are often the most beautiful blessings, just in disguise. We can't see very clearly in life, we think bad things are dressed in bad "clothes" and good things in good "clothes.” Let's open our eyes and look up.

I also write books because it is a way to capture a piece of you at a certain point in life. You can go back and see what you were thinking, the type of person you were at that time. Life is similar to standing in a stream of water. You can go back the next day and stand in the very same place yet the stream is different. The pebbles, rocks and sand underneath you have shifted. You can never stand in the same stream twice. It changes and so do we. Writing things down captures who you are at that time. It also memorializes whatever you are writing about. Memories fail us but writing captures those thoughts, feelings, ideas, aspirations, lessons, dreams etc...it is a way to pass yourself on to another person, to share yourself and I enjoy sharing. 

TYLER DAVIS (San Diego, CA)

“What is the biggest life lesson you have learned through your career?”

I would be interested to hear about some of the struggles Ed must have gone through to get to where he is today, as well as how he overcame any obstacles and what he learned from it all.

Ed: Many life lessons are captured in my book, Be the First Believer. I would encourage you to read it.

Written by the Recruiting Team.

For more from Ed Deutschlander, click here to read a list of quotes collected by him over the years that have inspired him to think differently. Click here to view a suggested reading list also assembled by Ed.

Separate from the financial plan and our role as financial planner, we may recommend the purchase of specific investment or insurance products or accounts. These product recommendations are not part of the financial plan and you are under no obligation to follow them. 1887801/DOFU 9-2017

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