Mike Leigh on Breaking Down Barriers with Lean

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Joining me for Episode #392 is Mike Leigh, the President of his firm OpX Solutions, LLC. Mike was one of the contributors, writing a chapter for our anthology book Practicing Lean.

Some highlights from Mike's career, from his bio:

  • Began his career as an officer in the US Navy in the late '80s, specializing in nuclear propulsion and surface warfare
  • Mike spent 13 years with General Electric and held various leadership and senior management positions at several different manufacturing sites
  • During his last five years with GE, Mike was an internal lean consultant and helped over 25 GE factories/suppliers and hundreds of work teams become more productive, reduce costs, and improve their bottom line
  • Had 45 weeks of training by mentors from Shingijutsu, considered by many as the best Lean consultants in the world
Mike Leigh

Today, we have a wide-ranging conversation, starting off by talking about the need for leaders to “break down barriers” (and to understand what those barriers really are). What lessons did Mike learn about leadership from the Navy? What leadership behaviors are really problematic? And what are the root causes of those behaviors? We talk about all of this and more.

I hope you enjoy the conversation like I did. You can listen to the audio or watch the video, below.


Streaming Audio Player:



Video of the Episode:


For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/392.


Questions, Topics, and More

  • Breaking down barriers — what are the actual barriers? What leaders think vs. reality?
  • Deming — Understanding individuals, avoid demotivating people
  • Line leadership vs. internal Lean roles
  • Leadership lessons from the Navy
  • Are there specific leadership behaviors that are problematic? What is the root cause of those behaviors?
    • “Barking and walking away”
  • “Tell me about it”
  • Not doing work to standard — is there a standard?
  • Two rules:
    • 1) Do your job
    • 2) Take care of each other

Thanks for listening or watching!

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1 Comment
  1. keiko fuchioka says

    Mark, I really loved this episode. Thank you, Mark & Mike!

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