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There's no safer bet in the business world than this: As soon as you've planned and refined a strategy, something in the market will change. Constant advances in technology ensure this type of disruption, and the rise of consumerism means that those who are not meeting the needs of clients faster, better and with more focus and attention than their competitors might very well not be around tomorrow.

A business' ability to react and shift in accordance with company strategy relies heavily on corporate readiness. In other words, you need the right talent in the right roles with the skills to shift gears and either react to changing market conditions or get ahead of them entirely. Your company's relevance is entirely reliant upon this level of corporate flexibility. You've got to get the information and react to it. Fast.

It's Time for a New L&D Model

This need for rapid response is what makes the old standard models of learning and development entirely antiquated. By the time you've put together classroom lessons or crafted, tested and released an online module, you've got to move onto the next thing. Old-school L&D can make or break a business in these circumstances, and it's not just because the company is using older tools: The whole corporate world is moving and changing faster than ever.

Baby boomers are leaving the workforce as millennials are entering it in large numbers, and that creates a dearth of qualified leaders. With technological advances, the skill mix that will be needed for the future isn't changing in the next five years—it's more like the next six months to a year. Employees want to be challenged and free to follow their passion instead of a classic management progression career path. Lack of learning and development affects talent acquisition, retention and profitability.

It means that it's time for a new model: continuous learning.

The Case for Continuous Learning

A compelling case can be made for a holistic learning experience platform where learning isn't merely created but curated for the organization and tailored to the individual. Self-maintained but following certain corporate directives, a holistic learning platform allows employees to acquire a variety of skills germane to their current position but with options to explore courses that they can curate themselves based on their passion and skill interests.

Business skills, leadership, technology and other vital current and future skills are available for individuals, and the whole experience is created in partnership with the organization's L&D team. I think it's the future of corporate leadership development and a powerful way to harness technological disruptions for internal growth and corporate profitability.

In the end, the ability to remain relevant and agile means having the right individuals with the right skills able to perform the right tasks at the right time. This underscores the importance of corporate readiness, and if continuous learning and development can be incorporated into an employee's daily work experience, there's a much greater chance of creating that essential corporate capacity. It's a path to relevance and a brighter, profitable future for the design and execution of the business of tomorrow. Let us embrace it now.

To find out more about how to address the plight of constant change in L&D, check out Cornerstone's new e-book: The Rise of a Holistic Learning Experience.

Photo: Twenty20