What If We’ve Been Asking The Wrong Question About The Future Of Work?

As part of our series on speakers for professional service industries, especially financial and insurance, we asked future of work insider Eric Termuende for a contribution to help clients with strategy:   

In a world fixated on predicting the future of work, what if our focus should lie in building strong, resilient teams today?

An #NSBOriginal
By Eric Termuende

What if we’ve been asking the wrong question about the future of work?

We all have this desire to predict what the future of work is going to bring. We wonder about the talent shortage, we wonder about retirement, we wonder about the gig economy, and lately, we wonder about AI and how it will almost surely up-end the industry before we know it. And while all of this may be true, do we know how or when this is going to happen? And if it does, to what extent will it impact us?

The bottom line is that we just don’t know. Not only do we not know what the future of work is going to hold, we don’t know 100% what the weather is going to do this afternoon.


Instead of asking what the future of work looks like, the question we should all be asking is, ‘How do we build an incredible teamregardless of what the future of work looks like. In other words, how do we build strong, resilient, trusting, and safe teams that will help us confidently navigate whatever uncertainty the future is sure to present us? These are the conversations we need to have, because at the end of the day, the future of work very much depends on the practices and culture we focus on today.

After working with hundreds of organizations and speaking to thousands of people on this topic, the one thing I’ve found that separates those who are bullish about the future of work and those that are scared of it, is the TRUST they have in each other. And as I dive into what enables the trust they have, I’ve found that category-leading companies and their leaders are doing a few specific things to deepen the trust they have with their teams: 

  1. Understanding Your Team Beyond Work: They learn more about who their team is outside of work. They know about their families, their hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations. 

  2. Valuing Team Perspectives: They ask their teams about their opinions and their perspectives. By making their team feel seen, heard, and understood, the team’s trust deepens.

  3. Learning from Your Team: They ask their teams to teach them a skill. It may only take a minute, but asking to be taught something closes a generational—knowledge—trust gap, quickly.

  4. Recognizing Your Team: Trusting leaders give credit and take blame, recognizing their team along the way.

  5. Slowing Down: Sometimes the fastest way to speed up connection is to slow down and ask the team just one more question that deepens connection and their relationship.

If there is something we can all agree on, it is that the future is impossible to predict. If instead of polishing our fractured crystal balls, we focused on deepening the relationships and enhancing the trust on our teams, perhaps the future of work is more optimistic than we ever imagined knowing that we can get to wherever it may take us, together.

– Eric Termuende


Learn from Eric as he shares how to build resilient, trusting teams prepared to navigate the future of work.

About The Author
Eric Termuende | Future of Work Expert

Eric Termuende is on a mission to discover and share industry-leading practices that help leaders and their teams thrive in the future of work. After years spent surveying tens of thousands of people, working with hundreds of category-leading companies, and authoring a bestselling book on the world of work, Eric has firmly established himself as a trusted expert, delivering a refreshing, actionable message for leaders at every level, as we navigate the future of work together.

Eric’s clients include: Bank of Montreal, IBM, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Intact, Allstate, Toyota, Sun Life Financial, and more!

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