Winget: 'Being passionate is a total load of crap'

| by Alicia Kelso
Winget: 'Being passionate is a total load of crap'

Larry Winget -- who resists calling himself a motivational speaker -- had an unconventional message for the crowd gathered at the 2014 Fast Casual Executive Summit:

The concept of "being passionate" about work, said Winget, is "a total load of crap."

"I know people who are passionate but passionately incompetent," he said. "Almost all of the work in the world gets done when people are not motivated."

"We get work done because we said we would," he said. "It's that simple."

Winget, who has landed on the New York Times Best Seller list no less than six times, delivered the event's keynote address: "The cold, hard, ugly truth about success." 

Winget spent the better part of an hour delivering a simple message counter to most motivational messages, telling the crowd that we all want to make more money and have more fun and the key to such success is not that hard to figure out.

"Success comes from two things: Hard work and excellence. I know people who are excellent at what they do but they don't work very hard, and I know people who work very hard but just aren't that great at what they do," he said. "People don't want to talk about this anymore. 'Work' has become a four-letter word. Hard work and excellence are what really matter. There are no secrets to success."

And while some companies believe that happier employees are a priority because they'll treat customers better, Winget has a completely different opinion.

"Your customer doesn't care if you're happy. They just want you to do your job," he said.

Winget's nonconformity may have taken a few Fast Casual Executive Summit attendees by surprise.

This message specifically created plenty of dialogue throughout the remaining two days of the event. One woman said she loved everything about the FCES except Winget's keynote.

"It was a little off-putting," she said. "We're in the service industry. We're supposed to have more empathy than that."

To be fair, Winget did offer a piece of advice on how to ensure good customer service: "Be nice."

And to sell more: "Ask."

And to lead: "Get in front of people and give them something to follow."

"There are old school ideas that we're missing these days. For example, we'd rather do anything in the world than take responsibility. It's never our fault," he said. "People can choose and sadly they don't choose well most of the time. The last thing they do is take personal responsibility."

Winget said there also needs to be an abundance of flexibility in order to succeed – flexibility with your customers, coworkers, everything. The most-requested topic he's asked to talk about is "how to deal with change."

"Here is my speech on how to deal with change," he said. "Shut up. Stop whining. And get a life."

As parting words, Winget did finally manage to incorporate a little fun into his otherwise no-nonsense presentation"

"Nothing's going to be perfect. All you can do is stack the deck in your favor," he said. "We need to have more fun every day. When you mess up, big deal. Move on. Life's a party."

Topics: Customer Service / Experience, Fast Casual Executive Summit

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