Early in his career, Thomas Edison invented a vote recording machine for use in legislative chambers. Politicians could vote yea or nay from their desks. This would replace the time consuming process of counting votes.

Edison patented the machine and went to Washington to demonstrate and sell it. He was turned  down immediately. Edison was told that filibustering and voting delays were part of the political process (perhaps proving the old adage that it’s better not to see laws and sausages being made!). Edison later said, “There and then I made a vow that I would never again invent anything which was not wanted.”

Many companies stumble and products or services die because they are solutions in search of a problem. Clever marketing can sometimes create needs we never knew we had. But it’s far easier to ride a horse in the direction it is already going. Understanding and filling emerging needs is often a much more effective approach.

Understanding needs and what’s wanted comes to mind as I scratch my itch to write my next book. My previous books have grown from frameworks, approaches, or services we’ve developed and then brought to readers. And based on book sales and demand for our speaking, workshop, and retreat services that’s worked very well.

In the past few years, the number of leadership and culture development topic areas and books has exploded. That’s inversely related to the rapidly shrinking time crazy-busy leaders have to read them. And we know that leadership matters — a lot. So how can I best help time-crunched leaders develop their effectiveness on the fly?

This time I am taking a pull versus push approach to writing this book. Which leadership and culture development topics are most pressing today? What book length, format, and layout would be the most useful?

An old boss once told one of our family members to just give the first paragraph and the last paragraph and cut out everything in the middle to avoid lengthy explanations or TMI (too much information). We still poke affectionate fun at him with this reminder when he starts to wind up for a detailed discussion. In today’s information overloaded world, I want to provide a succinct, highly relevant and practical book. Tomorrow we publish my March blog posts in the April issue of The Leader Letter. Our first topic in this issue provides more background on this new book project and how you can help.

In this issue you’ll also find new research on workplace culture and its impact. Great workplaces aren’t just warm and fuzzy, they produce up to three times higher results. And HR should be playing a major role in making that happen. But many HR leaders need to make big changes in their approach to help their organizations become more innovative and agile through much better performance management, coaching, teams, and development.

May you find a few ideas here to help in your development journey. And I hope you can take our 5 minute book topic survey to help me help you further.