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"Doing the highest quality work possible"
A LeanOhio interview with Mike Lucid
Office of Change Management • Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation
Mike began his career at the BWC as a training officer and quality facilitator in 1993. He accepted the position of project manager in BWC's Quality Services Department in 1999, and was promoted to manager of that Department in 2009. Completing his Black Belt in 2012, he was appointed manager of the Change Management Department where he continues to coordinate enterprise-wide change initiatives and facilitate process improvement teams and Lean Six-Sigma events.
How did you come to be a practitioner of Lean Six Sigma? Was there was a moment where you "caught the bug," or did you come to gradually, or was it forced upon you?
It definitely wasn't forced on me. I was involved in the TQM and Quality Services through Partnership back in the Voinovich era, when TQM was really new to government. I was an instant advocate, became a full-time process improvement facilitator at BWC, and we were lucky enough to have an administration that saw the importance of it. When Lean Six Sigma arose as the "TQM on steroids," with a more scientific approach to process improvement, I was already riding the pony. So I'm an advocate still, and always have been.
What would you say gives Lean Six Sigma its advantage over those predecessors?
In the days of Quality Services through Partnership, we basically used the DMAIC method, but there wasn't nearly the focus on the hardcore data gathering and metrics that there is now. So that's been a huge leap.
BWC had the first official Kaizen event through the LeanOhio Office in 2011. Are there any lessons learned from that experience, or from working with Bill Demidovich (the facilitator from LeanOhio) on that event?
It was the first time that I've seen the management side of facilitation. Bill is the easiest guy to get along with, but when it came to talking to the improvement sponsors and the team itself, he could be more directive – and that was that was an eye-opener to me. I'm a very easy-going person -- almost too easy to get along with sometimes. But the team ends up paying for it if you're not directive enough.
Have there been any experiences that have been more difficult than you would have liked?
A lot of times we'll get would-be sponsors who don't really get what we're about. They'll come to us and say, "I've got an idea that I really want to implement, I need your help." I'll say, "Well okay, but you really don't need a Lean Six Sigma facilitator." Do you at the LeanOhio Office run into that a lot?
Occasionally. People will come to us and say, "we need to fix communication" or "we need to fix morale."
Morale. (chuckles) Yeah, I knew that was next.
So yes, it can a struggle: trying to get people to understand that it's process-oriented, and if you can't put your finger on a start and an end point, then it's probably not --
It's not going to fly as a process improvement. That's what I've found too. I guess the challenge boils down to: getting the potential change sponsors to understand what it is we can do for them and what it is that we really shouldn't do.
What sort of things do you look for in an employee when considering them for training?
When I get an inquiry, I need to verify if they have a real passion for doing the highest quality work possible. To me, that's a basic requirement. If you've got somebody, say, who's passionate about building houses, and you can see that passion in their face and hear it in their voice, and you hand them a hammer, it's a slam-dunk because you know they're going to use that hammer. If you're passionate about that kind of thing, you'll find a way to use those tools.
On a personal level, are there any facts or tidbits that maybe your Lean Network colleagues might find interesting or surprising?
(Laughs) That's a harder question than any of the others because now it's about me! Now's my chance! I have three things: First, the Dos Equis commercials are wrong: I am the most interesting person in the world (laughs). Second, I wanted to be a writer when I was younger, because I like the creative side of things. And third, I speak fluent French.
How did you learn French?
I got a master's degree in French in college… (laughs) … now here I am, using it daily! In undergrad, I was an English major and, not remembering you can't get a job with humanities, I went back into French! Why not, you know?! And then I went back after that and got a second post-grad degree in education, so that's how I ended up in the training sector of things. It was an easy switch-over into facilitation.
Interviewed by Scot Burbacher • October 2015
• Ohio EPA