“America is engaged in a global quality war — and we’re losing. We lead in innovation, and we get to market first, but within a matter of months our overseas rivals are eating our lunch,” declares Subir Chowdhury. But why is this so?

Chowdhury, a leading quality expert whose clients include Fortune 100 companies as well as smaller public and private organizations, has an answer. In his new book, The Power of LEO: The Revolutionary Process for Achieving Extraordinary Results, Chowdhury reveals a groundbreaking concept that enables companies to achieve quality at all levels. Called LEO — Listen, Enrich, and Optimize — Chowdhury’s method represents a transformational new mindset that will revolutionize the decisions managers make and the actions they take, dramatically improving performance by making quality part of the corporate DNA.

Year after year, while proclaiming a commitment to quality, American businesses create and implement flawed processes — and the results, in Chowdhury’s estimation,  are predictable:  flawed products and services.  The LEO approach empowers and enables any organization to truly commit to and achieve an unprecedented level of quality.

 

In examining the business landscape in the early 2000s, Chowdhury recognized that most companies fail to achieve more than marginal gains in quality, despite trying an abundance of management tools, from reengineering to Six Sigma. “We needed to make a significant departure from past practice,” Chowdhury explains, “to approach quality and performance improvement in a way that takes into account an in-depth understanding of a company’s goals, culture, and core strengths and weaknesses.” From this need came the basis for LEO — and the system has since proved effective over and over again with companies of every size and kind.

“LEO can find answers to the questions that plague managers everywhere,” Chowdhury writes. “Why are my sales dropping off? What can I do about my excessive scrap? How do I reduce high turnover? How can I match my competitor’s price? Why is my new product pipeline empty?” Ultimately, he asserts, the answers to all these questions boil down to one word: quality. LEO’s game-changing approach is comprised of three basic elements:

Listen: Observe and Understand – To obtain a deep understanding of the issue at hand, assumptions must be put aside and interaction with all relevant parties – including customers, suppliers, and employees – is critical. “You must get up close and personal and go to the source,” explains Chowdhury. That could be the factory floor, a call center, or a customer’s home. And listening is not only about asking questions, but about observing — whether that means watching a worker perform a task or a customer use a product.

Enrich: Explore and Discover – Once the real nature of the problem is uncovered, the next phase is about searching for the best solution. Chowdhury advocates a special type of brainstorming session that encourages people to relax and try to come up with numerous ideas, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. An informal environment where every idea receives a full and respectful hearing is key. “To get the most out of the Enrich process, you need to embrace change and the idea that what you have now, and what you have done up to this point, simply isn’t good enough,” the author writes.

Optimize: Improve and Perfect – During this phase, participants review the solutions that have already been proposed. They look for flaws and find ways to improve the solutions, making them even more effective. This is a step that some organizations think they can skip. But it is essential, because good-enough no longer works, contends Chowdhury. Everyone needs to strive for the highest quality possible. “If you want to turn out the kind of products or

services that will truly delight your customers and attract new ones, you need to keep raising the bar on quality,” he writes. Once the Optimize stage is complete, and only then, can the solutions be implemented.

As QualityDigest.com noted, The Power of LEO “isn’t just another business book on improving processes; it also applies to everyone on a personal level.” Contends Chowdhury, “Listen hard to others and to yourself. Enrich the lives around you by giving a little more every day; Optimize everything you do by setting your mind to excellence.”

Learn more about using LEO to achieve results: www.powerofleo.com