Continuous-quality-improvement_The Power of LEO_Subir Chowdhury

Continuous quality improvement ? LEO Knows How to Deliver it

Lorenzo Del Marmol

January 9, 2015

 Continuous-quality-improvement_The Power of LEO_Subir Chowdhury

Continuous quality improvement ? LEO Knows How to Deliver it.

Who is LEO anyway?

LEO is not a person, but a simple process that can guide your company on improving quality. Subir Chowdhury introduced LEO as a quick (but not necessarily easy) way to keep pushing for better quality in your business. His book and ideas moves away from a managerial point of view and instead tries to espouse a culture that is geared to producing top-quality products and services.

So what is LEO?

LEO can be broken down into:

  • L – Listen
  • E – Enrich
  • O – Optimize

These three tenets can help your company gain continuous quality improvement long after your six sigma consultant or expert has left the building.

Before LEO

Traditional management methods don’t work in today’s fast-paced world that’s driven by trends and social media. What’s one way to stay afloat or get ahead of your competition? Delivering continuous quality improvement is something that can set you apart from your competitors and earn you an eager and loyal client base.

When I met LEO

 Companies that want to implement LEO first have to adhere to the four cornerstones of the approach, as developed by Chowdhury:

  1.  Everyone must take responsibility for quality. There must not be a department, group or person solely responsible for ensuring the quality of your products. Everyone must be responsible for the outcome of the processes in your company. Everyone must have a commitment to quality.
  2. Value and respect all your employees. Instead of staff or underlings, treat your employees as partners in your success. After all, you are dependent on their human capital to even get anything done in your company. Successful companies like CostCo take this cornerstone to heart and have reaped the rewards of lower turnover and employees who do their best for the company.
  3. Motivate your employees positively. Negative motivation creates fear—positive motivation, on the other hand creates a drive to attain success instead of simple survival. Create a culture of teamwork, ownership, creativity, innovation and shared credit for your employees. You’ll find that money is no longer the main goal of most of the passionate workers in your employ—it’s the self-fulfilment of a job well done.
  4. Contextualize to your framework. You can’t choose LEO just like you choose Six Sigma simply because they work and they have a lot of material online to go through. Choose the method that fits your company best (be it LEO, Six Sigma, Lean, Agile, etc.) and tailor it to your needs. This is why you need an expert—only they can implement the new approach to suit your company. There isn’t the one true solution or the best solutions—there’s the solution that’s right for you.

So how do you LEO?


While it may sound simple, LEO is a continuous quality improvement method that is based on what your stakeholders want. You have to do away with assumptions and common conventions and instead take in the feedback and observations.

This is the stage where you collect data judiciously. Talk to your clients, ask for surveys and even get in touch with your in-house clients like call center agents or sales persons in the field.


This is where you reach out to your constituents, stakeholders and clients and ask for solutions to the problems they identified during the Listening phase. Determine collectively which solution is the best and implement it.


It’s easy to skip optimization but this is where the continuous quality improvement comes in. Don’t settle for one solution all the time—make sure that you’re adapting to trends and constantly listening to what your customers want.


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