At the start of the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs this year, the Los Angeles Kings were the eighth-seeded team in their conference. They proceeded to beat the first, second and third seeds, advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, and capped off their championship run with a win against the New Jersey Devils in six games on Monday night. With a record of 16-4 in the post-season, the Kings were firing on all cylinders, much to the credit of their coach Darryl Sutter, who joined the team midway through the season.
How does a team who was second to last in goal scoring among all teams in the NHL win the Stanley Cup? It starts with attitude and ends with execution.
According to the Toronto Star, Coach Sutter challenged his players, intimidated them, and led by example while preaching about the importance of preparation. These three principles set the tone for the King players and made each of them accountable.
These coaching principles can be equally applied to your business, department or a little league team (well maybe not the intimidation part). To achieve results or create change in your organization, you need to set the tone, clearly communicate what is at stake and demand the best from everyone involved. Having the courage and conviction to be brutally honest, often an uncomfortable discussion, can prove to be the difference between success and failure.
I am sure Coach Sutter had many stern talks with his team, but on Monday they all joined him in raising Lord Stanley’s Cup.