ExecOnline: It Takes a Leader to Broaden Access to Leadership Development

How can companies adopt various leadership agendas, practices, and behaviors at different stages of the business life cycle to help navigate through inevitable inflection points?

William Klepper  | Fall 2022
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After recognizing a lack of corporate diversity, especially at senior levels, Stephen Bailey founded ExecOnline in 2012, with the belief that leadership development should be more accessible for all leaders and more impactful for organizations. Today, ExecOnline is a pioneer in B2B online leadership development, delivering training to more than 85,000 global leaders through partnerships with twelve elite business schools. This case illustrates how Bailey took ExecOnline through the S-curve of the business cycle, from the seed of his idea to democratize access to learning, to the “trough” of early failures, to acquiring top-tier business school partners and enterprise customers. But the S-curve suggests that a business and the CEO don’t stay at the top of the curve forever, and students analyze the elements of Bailey’s leadership style that allowed him to navigate the lows of the global pandemic and nationwide racial reckoning after the death of George Floyd to pivot and climb the curve again.

Case ID: 230405

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