My blended family. A unit of mutual respect, care and love. When people witness this they often comment on it being unusual….why can’t it be a norm? This may seem the kind of post more relevant for other social platforms but actually this has a lot of relevance to the workplace. I’ve learned so much through the process of establishing a successful blended family that translates to setting up healthy workplace cultures that I’d love to share. 1. Differences of opinions are impermanent not absolute. Just because you disagreed at some point doesn’t mean you will continue to disagree and/ or that you disagree over everything. Also separating the differences of opinions to the people – or the behaviours from the people – they are NOT one and the same. 2. Find your teams little P. P as in Purpose it doesn’t have to be big, you can start on small things and build up from there. In the workplace we often call this a shared common purpose, but we look for the big stuff and then struggle. Also our perception is often back to front anyway, the little P’s actually end up being the big P’s. For our blended family it was that we all wanted the kids to not feel divided and live in as harmonious an environment as possible. 3. There are many ways to work together as a team – just because something didn’t work in one iteration doesn’t mean it can’t work in another. That one way same way mentality is such a barrier to growth and change and working together – particularly in an environment that is constantly changing around you. Always be curious to exploring and experiment with different ways of working together. 4. Focus on what really matters. In this case it was our children. This also means letting go of the ego and being aware of when niggles and past grudges get in the way of what matters. Awareness is key here so that we recognise when we are getting in our own way. It’s worth asking regularly – ‘Is this really serving me?’ – if you can’t get over it then it needs to be discussed and worked through which leads into point 5. 5. Set up and maintain regular streams of communication. We hang out and mix as a blended family regularly. Also establish if and when something is niggling that needs to be discussed in a non-blaming / finger pointing way, but rather a ‘I’m feeling this and this is why and this is what I often react this way’ etc. 6. Honour all emotions and talk about them. I may be biased as an emotions specialist but there is a reason why I’m passionate about the power of emotions. Our reality is based not only on what we think but also how we feel, which is why it needs to be a key part of the relationship and conversation. Give space for everyone to share how they’re feeling. Ask regularly ‘how do you need to feel collectively to be a successful unit / team?’. These are just a few insights – I’m still learning as a go. If you have any thoughts I’d love to hear them.