The BlueCotton Blog

25 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Five Ways You Can Be A Healthier Event Organizer

Image Credit: Tim Parkinson

Image Credit: Tim Parkinson

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If you’re a professional event organizer, it sort of goes without saying that you enjoy keeping yourself busy. Whereas some people might blanch at the logistics of running an event, you absolutely thrive when it comes to staying on top of your work. That said, given the demands of your career, there’s a good chance you’ve pushed yourself a little too hard on at least one occasion – running on fumes and ignoring the demands of your body.

That’s not something you should do on a regular basis. See, here’s the thing about physical fitness. It’s directly tied to your mental well being, which itself has a direct impact on productivity.

“There is a physical connection between what the mind is thinking and those parts of the brain that control bodily functions,” writes Madeline Vann of Everyday Health. “While unhappy or stressed-out thoughts may not directly cause poor physical health, they could be a contributing factor and may explain why one person is suffering physically while someone else is not.”

Basically, what we’re saying here is that you need to do everything in your power to keep yourself healthy. We can help a bit with that – here are a few tips to get you started. […]

19 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

10 #MondayMotivation Quotes To Start Your Week (on BlueCotton products!)

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Mondays can sometimes be a little less productive than other days. Even if you love your job like we do, the transition from weekend mode to work mode isn’t always easy. To start your week off on the right foot, we’ve pair some of our favorite #ModayMotivation quotes with a few of our products using our Design Studio. Enjoy, and make your week a great one! […]

07 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Charity Fundraising Techniques Are Under Fire In The UK – What Are They Doing Wrong?

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It’s a bit of a tragic tale, really. Just this past May, 92-year-old Olivia Cooke committed suicide, jumping to her death. Cooke, known as a seller of Poppies for the British Legion, was much beloved amongst friends and family. Her suicide, naturally, came as something of a shock – to the extent that some people are blaming the charities she supported throughout her life.

“The death of a woman apparently dogged by aggressive charity fundraising tactics has many in the United Kingdom – including some of the charities – wondering whether things have gone too far,” writes Ernie Smith of Associations Now. “Early stories about Cooke’s death suggested that she felt hounded by the many charities she supported throughout her life. But while her family says that wasn’t the root cause of her suicide, it nonetheless drew negative attention to the approaches many charities use when asking for donations.” […]

29 July 2015 ~ 0 Comments

How Can You Resolve A Conflict Within Your Sports Team?

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When you have a group of individuals training in a highly competitive field like sports for any length of time, conflict is inevitable. Eventually, someone’s going to get on someone else’s nerves. Personalities and ideas are going to clash, mistakes are going to be made, and words are going to be said in anger.

As coach, it’s your job to work out these disputes before they become serious. And today, we’re going to walk you through exactly how to do that. Let’s begin.

First, Let Everyone Cool Off

Before you even think about talking through the conflict, you need to make sure everyone’s cooled off. If emotions are still running high when you come across a conflict, nothing’s going to get done – and you could well make things worse. Separate the people involved and give all of them a chance to calm down.

“If your feathers are ruffled, it’s best to take a moment to regroup before having a knee-jerk reaction you might regret later,” writes Psych Central’s Joyce Marter. “Breathe deeply to calm yourself. Check in with your body and recognize if there are any physical discomforts that are exacerbating your emotional agitation (i.e. hunger, fatigue, etc.) If possible and appropriate, address those needs—otherwise, raise a mental red flag so you are conscious that your emotions may be inflamed by these conditions. Stretching is a good way to quickly release tension and achieve physical comfort and neutral posture.”

Act As A Neutral Party In Order To Gain Perspective

Once everyone’s had a chance to gather themselves, it’s time for you to really step in. Don’t take sides here. Instead, talk to each involved party and witness one at a time, to get their sides of the story.

The key here is to form the most complete narrative of events possible. Avoid assigning blame.  See, every person likes to paint themselves as the hero of their own story, and – as noted by The Boston Globe’s Joe Keohane – nobody likes admitting they’re wrong.

“Most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas, and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence,” writes Keohane. “Rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions.”

Act As A Mediator

With a complete picture of the situation at hand, it’s time to bring the sparring parties back together, and work with them to find a solution. Remember, though – your job as a coach isn’t to tell them exactly what they need to do in order to solve their problem. Your job, as always, is to guide them towards the solution; to assist them in working things out for themselves.

Again, avoid assigning blame here. Try to help each party understand the others’ perspective, and demonstrate that you understand them yourself. If you were yourself involved in this conflict in some fashion, own up to your own mistakes.

“The mediator is primarily a “process person,” helping the parties define the agenda, identify and reframe the issues, communicate more effectively, find areas of common ground, negotiate fairly, and hopefully, reach an agreement,” reads a piece on Beyond Intractability. “A successful mediation effort has an outcome that is accepted and owned by the parties themselves.”

“Make sure that nobody is hiding from the issue at hand,” adds a post on the Dale Carnegie Blog. “Keep everyone talking and expressing themselves honestly and openly. Sometimes, these dialogues can focus on complaints rather than developing situations. Determine what everyone needs, and strive for a solution where all needs are met.”

When All Else Fails, Put Your Foot Down

Now for the bad news. As a coach, you’re in a position of authority over your players. And like everyone in positions of power, sometimes you have to be the bad guy. Sometimes, you have to step in and mandate a resolution – for example, if one of your athletes is being particularly stubborn and refuses to admit their own mistakes.

It’s generally rare that you’ll have to do this, but you should be prepared all the same.

Remember That Conflict Can Be A Good Thing

Last but certainly not least, there’s one last thing worth mentioning about conflict – it’s not always terrible. It could serve as a learning or growth opportunity for your team, and managing it effectively could enrich the players’ relationships with one another and improve the overall team dynamic.

“Hidden within virtually every conflict is the potential for a tremendous teaching/learning opportunity,” says Mike Myatt of Forbes. “Where there is disagreement there is an inherent potential for growth and development. Divergent positions addressed properly can stimulate innovation and learning in ways like minds can’t even imagine. Smart leaders look for the upside in all differing opinions.”

Closing Thoughts

A coach is many things to their team. A leader. A mentor. A friend. And perhaps most importantly, a mediator. Athletics can be a highly-aggressive, highly competitive field; conflict is just about inevitable.

How you address it when it strikes your team could make or break its dynamic – keep that in mind, moving forward.

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21 July 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Advice From 11 Experts On What Makes A Great Swag Bag (And What Doesn’t)

Advice From 11 Experts

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The perfect gift bag, or “swag bag”, can show appreciation, boost employee loyalty, or create or improve brand awareness. But, creating the perfect swag bag can be harder than it seems. That’s why we’ve combed through various industries to ask those who know what a great swag bag looks like. Because we’ve all been to one of those conferences where they hand you a bag and when you look inside there are some pens and a notebook and maybe a usb stick with the conference logo on it. And what happens to those things? Odds are, they probably end up in the garbage. […]

09 July 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Five Football Training Drills You Can Use To Whip Your Team Into Shape

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A sports team is nothing without a great coach to guide them. You’re equal parts leader and mentor; equal parts drill sergeant and friend. It’s a difficult job, but also an immensely rewarding one if done right.

“Sports coaches assist athletes in developing to their full potential,” reads a piece on Top End Sports. “They are responsible for training athletes in a sport by analyzing their performances, instructing in relevant skills, and providing encouragement.”

Part of that training involves drills, physical exercise patterns designed to promote athletic growth.  Today, we’re going to go over a few of the more brutal – and brutally efficient – exercises you can use to hammer the members of your football team into better, more hardened athletes. Note that this is just a balanced sampling; there are tons more drills out there on the web just waiting to be discovered and adapted for your team.

Let’s get started. […]