Business owners face a tall task: they have to keep up with an environment that no longer stands still. Even those with prestigious laurels can’t escape the fact that business is moving forward, pushed steadily by an explosive growth in new media. On a fundamental level, access to information has changed. The average business cannot ignore the fact that data-mining social intelligence tools are now must-haves if you want to be considered a viable competitor. On the other end, churning developments in the way people interact with each other has also forced the hand of business keep current on new technologies and ideas.

That said, it’s not exactly practical to go back to school to keep current. In fact, the business graduates and undergraduates today will more or less face the same uncertainties you now face. The only control you have over the shift is to embrace that educational stability is last century’s relic. You can’t rely on what you knew five years ago; you might not even be able all too sure about how business was best served five months ago.

To succeed in the 21st century marketplace, regardless of your business, you need the curiosity and enthusiasm of a child when it comes to learning. You’ve got to keep learning. You’ve got to keep exploring – and you’ve got to be willing to adapt.

Just like your personal trainer might call you a maggot and tell you drop 20 in an attempt you toughen you up, I’m going to hit you with a dose of two relevant business trends you needed to know – like, yesterday!

Evaluating Tiers of Intelligence

Avid Larizadeh wrote a Forbes article titled “Forget Business School: Why an Emotional Education Is Indispensible,” in which she argued for emotional intelligence by noting that a degree isn’t a guarantor of success. To be a successful entrepreneur, you need emotional intelligence (EQ), which Larizadeh breaks down into four characteristics: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is becoming the new standard for understanding how to succeed in business in everything from managing teams to negotiating deals. This comes as a supplement to traditionally favored system of intelligence (IQ). Of course, conventional intelligence is still highly desirable, but when creating a team (or more importantly, leading a team), part of your success hinges on your ability to understand people’s motivations and effectively communication with them.

Favoring people with high EQ comes down putting a human factor back in overall mechanized business process. As I have said:

“The ability to cut through data will falls within the realm of observer – the marketing manager and his troupe that can discriminate between noise and intelligence. And what that requires is some pedigree in emotional intelligence of the consumer, trends, and traffic patterns.”

Corporate Universities

Business school or corporate university, that is the question…especially if you’re following Larizadeh’s train of thought that considers an emotional education superior to traditional business school. Whether you’re thinking about going back to gain more management skills or wondering where to hire your next team member from, consider the powerful draw of a corporate university.

According to an Inc. article by Donna Fein, titled “Corporate Universities for Small Companies,” there are at least two reasons employers may want to consider this form of continued trained:

“[1] Employees are now keenly aware that training is essential to their future marketability and are making career choices based on opportunities for learning. And [2] CEOs are beginning to realize that the burgeoning amount of new information–combined with the speed with which it bombards the marketplace–makes learning through osmosis increasingly difficult.”

Whether you attend a corporate university or implement some system of education into your own business for current hires, a corporate university is a firm way to carve aside time with the recognition of your need to continue developing individual skills and widening marketplace understanding.