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Expecting all employees to do that? Not going to happen.

Expecting some employees to do that? Why not? Don't all managers/executives/founders start at the bottom?

Well, it is definitely reasonable to expect some employees to turn the "increase sales" message into "develop this feature"... and the argument is that those employees are (probably) managers. (Or rock stars, if you buy into that.)

I'd hope the CEO instructions might be able to be a little more detailed than "increase sales". Otherwise, the CEO is at risk of seeming to not add any value, direction or vision.

Or technical product owners, who in lots of companies, especially large ones, are "promoted" into management roles simply because they are directing traffic and coordinating activities of the technical staff "beneath" them (The folks also contributing to the product they govern). There are a lot of ways to deal with this that don't involve flattening the whole org.

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