How to Help Process Owners Succeed (HBR)

How to Help Process Owners Succeed

12:09 PM Friday January 21, 2011
by Brad Power

Putting executives in charge of improving cross-functional processes in large organizations is akin to asking them to paddle a boat upstream. The natural forces in the organization will tend to frustrate their every attempt to coordinate activities across functional boundaries.

Nevertheless, companies that live and die on operational excellence — such as Amazon.com, FedEx, Southwest Airlines, and Wal-Mart — must continually improve their key processes. And they need process owners (who may variously be called VP of Customer Experience, SVP of Supply Chain, Chief Engineer, or Value Stream Leader, for instance) to lead these initiatives. So what conditions give process owners the best chance of success?

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