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The Power of LEO
Author(s) : Subir Chowdhury
Edition : Hardcover
The Power of LEO
The Revolutionary Process for Achieving Extraordinary Results

By Subir Chowdhury
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Publication Date: October 2011
Price: $28.00; ISBN: 978-0-07-176799-6

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New Book Puts The Power of LEO – Listen, Enrich, and Optimize –
At Organizations’ Fingertips, Challenging Everyone, From CEOs To
Frontline Workers, To Make Quality Their Top Priority

“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, a leading quality expert whose clients include Fortune 100 companies as well as smaller organizations, both public and private. In his new book, THE POWER OF LEO: The Revolutionary Process for Achieving Extraordinary Results (McGraw Hill/ October 2011), 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.

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.” Hence, LEO was born – and has since proved itself 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 Opitmize stage is complete, and only then, can the solutions be implemented.

In THE POWER OF LEO, Chowdhury uses detailed case histories of many different types of companies – from an automobile manufacturer, to a hospital, to a candy factory – to show how the LEO approach has been used in real business situations. LEO is equally effective whether a company faces a “Fire” – a specific, often sudden problem in any area of the organization, such as inconsistent product quality that seems to come out of nowhere; a “Flow” issue – something ongoing on the operations side of the company, such as a process that is creating a bottleneck in production; or a “Future” issue – anything to do with the creation of new processes, products, or services.

Ultimately, the LEO mindset can bring great rewards, not only as an organizational
methodology, but also as a personal strategy, contends Chowdhury. “We can spend our
lives just getting by, or we can strive for quality in everything we do,” he writes. If LEO is to transform a company, leaders and frontline employees alike must acquire a high-quality mindset – marked by such characteristics as honesty, empathy, and resistance to compromise. Even more fundamentally, Chowdhury advocates implementing the basic ideas behind LEO in everyday life. As he says in his book, “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.” Year after year, while proclaiming a commitment to quality, Americans go on devising flawed processes and turning out flawed products and services, Chowdhury contends. The LEO approach enables any organization to truly commit to and achieve an unprecedented level of quality. THE POWER OF LEO provides the step-by-step tools executives and managers need to put this transformative method to work for them.


“Nobody knows quality like Subir Chowdhury, and The Power of LEO reveals the elegant new approach he has pioneered with the world’s top companies. I couldn’t recommend this book more.”

Marshall Goldsmith
Author of the New York Times bestsellers, MOJO and
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“The Power of LEO will be beneficial to any organization that utilizes the principles and incorporates it into their culture. Subir Chowdhury’s LEO is guaranteed to produce results.”

Michael King
CEO and National President, Volunteers of America

“Subir Chowdhury is one of the world’s leading experts on quality improvement, and he’s on a mission to instill that same passionate dedication in every person at every level. In The Power of LEO he goes long way to doing just that. It’s a no-nonsense book full of real-life case examples, practical tips, and proven strategies. If you’re looking to make quality a way of life, this is definitely the book for you.”

Jim Kouzes
Coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge The Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

“Subir brings forward a fresh perspective on managing global corporations by listening carefully to key stakeholders, enriching critical business processes and optimizing the strategic change initiatives for deriving maximum business value. In an uncomplicated style, he uses multiple case studies to explain how LEO management approach can solve significant business challenges. Avid readers of new ideas in management techniques would certainly find this work of interest.”

Narayana N. R. Murthy
Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys Limited

“The Power of LEO highlights the importance of improving process design in any industry-including health care. We have applied LEO in my hospital and it works. Subir Chowdhury's book will serve as a powerful reminder to the health care industry that its primary goal is to develop, enhance and delight its most important customer: the patient.”

Mark L. Rosenblum, M.D.
Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, Henry Ford Health System
Vice President of Clinical Programs, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital

“The Power of LEO has re-kindled my belief in the value of listening to and collaborating with all of our stakeholders.”

James E. Rogers
Chairman, President and CEO, Duke Energy

“Most management strategies are great in theory. But how does a line executive put it to use? The Power of LEO shows us how in practical, down-to-earth terms and anecdotes. A most useful read!”

Jim Lawrence
CEO, Rothschild North America and Former Vice Chairman and CFO, General Mills


bullet The POWER of LEO
bullet The Ice Cream Maker
bullet Next Generation Business Handbook
bullet Taguchi's Quality Engineering Handbook
bullet The Power of Six Sigma
bullet Management 21C
bullet The Talent Era
bullet Design for Six Sigma
bullet The Power of Design for Six Sigma
bullet The Mahalanobis-Taguchi System
bullet Robust Engineering
bullet Organization 21C
bullet QS-9000 Pioneers
bullet Quality Up, Costs Down
bullet Taguchi Methods: On-Line Production
bullet Taguchi on Robust Technology Development


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