CEO’s and store visits: Worth their time?

The popular new TV show “Undercover Boss” raised a related question among RetailWire panelists this week: Should retail CEO’s spend more time in their own stores to “see what’s really going on”? I believe it’s worth the effort, even if the trips are unannounced:
If a retail company’s culture and “best practices” are running on all cylinders, it shouldn’t take a CEO visit to uncover and fix problems. Especially at a chain operation with hundreds or thousands of stores coast-to-coast, senior management must rely on its field leaders to address issues. Nevertheless, CEO’s are well-advised to hit the road and see whether their vision is being executed properly. Announced tours often end up like “state visits,” whereas surprise/incognito observations are more likely to reveal the same things that customers see every day…good or bad.
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