Executives are the senior leaders in an organization. They make the sweeping decisions that affect a large cross-section of the company at the same time. These senior leaders are usually the ones responsible for bringing Lean into an organization and setting the course that it will follow.
Many executives can be somewhat removed from daily contact with the employees on the frontline of change. However, for Lean to be successful, executives should have a good feel for the pulse of the company. That means going to gemba on a regular basis and familiarizing themselves with the day-to-day operations and challenges that employees face on a regular basis.
The more an executive understands about how the front line thinks and feels about their work, the more effective Lean will be.