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Reinventing the wheel: Are you wasting resources building training solutions that already exist?

In training, "Reinventing the wheel" refers to the act of copying, duplicating or recreating something that already exists, usually without major enhancements or alterations. It's the same as painstakingly creating a new wheel when functioning wheels are readily available.

Many expert trainers, educators, and content providers have created a host of helpful training programs, resources, and tools that have been tried, tested, and proven to be effective.

"Reinventing the wheel" occurs when you decide to create a new training program or resource from scratch, unaware that similar or even superior solutions already exist. Instead of building upon the existing foundation, you spend time and effort recreating something that's already available, thus wasting valuable resources that could be better utilized for innovation, personalization, or addressing unique needs. Let me share three instances of how "Reinventing the wheel" affects businesses.

First, while I was working with an ecommerce giant, a bunch of recently inducted operations leaders proposed a skill development program for their team managers. They had already worked for two months on the plan and needed me to create content for the program. In the first meeting, I realized that a similar program exists in the host of leadership development programs the company offers. The modules in the program needed a little customization and they would be ready to be used for the program the leaders had envisioned. Had they contacted the right experts at the beginning, they would have saved time and launched the program already.

Second, the leaders of an educational institute wanted a handbook for their students to help them prepare for the placement interviews. Their professors spent weeks preparing it. When it came to me for proofreading, I realized that there are hundreds of videos available on YouTube that offer the same content and are far more engaging than the printed material. All they needed was a playlist of some good videos followed by a couple of mock interviews to instill confidence in the students. However, they had already wasted their time and resources.

Third, a company asked its training team to develop a skill development program for its employees. The modules were ready after a month, but the leaders didn't like it. As a result, they roped in content developers and instructional designers. Finally, the program was ready after 3 months, but they had little time to conduct it. Ideally, the company should have considered an external vendor with expertise in delivering similar training, which would have saved them both time and money. Moreover, it would have also found the latest program in the market.

What all these instances clearly state is that it's vital to consider harnessing the wealth of existing information before you think of new solutions. Rope in the right experts to save your resources and enable the use of proven strategies, best practices, and evidence-based approaches. Focus on enhancing and building upon what's already available to achieve greater effectiveness and impact in your training endeavors.

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