I watched the show Undercover Management right after the Super Bowl and had some initial thoughts as it relates to all the business environments I've been in.
First off, upper management will never, ever, have the pulse on a company. No matter how much the CEO and the lead dog walks the hallway, how often will that executive get to know the guy that takes out the trash?
If those executives exist, they are rare.
At the end of the day, it's all about the numbers. Whether it's billable hours, volume or clock punching, business is all about numbers and the top executives are in charge of the numbers -- nothing else really matters because they, themselves are held accountable for the numbers.
Customers don't see the executives, they just see the worker bees. Your company is only going to be as good as the people that work for you. If they are happy and love what they do, that will reflect in your brand. If they are miserable and hate their job, then that perception will ooze through.
The other part to the equation is that the folks on the lower rungs need to understand what happens at the higher levels. This is where internal communications come into play. Communication needs to flow from the top down and from the bottom up. Period. It's no brain surgery, but honesty and transparency can go a long way in business. Unfortunately, those two trends have seemed to disappear from the business world in recent years.
We need to get them back.