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Crack the C-Suite Code

How Successful Leaders Make It to the Top

Cassandra Frangos


Covered in Forbes, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review, Crack the C-Suite Code is “a true insider’s guide,” according to Harvard Business School professor Boris Groysberg.

How can I reach the C-suite?

That is the most common question Cassandra Frangos hears from the executives she coaches. Many aspire to reach the C-suite, but the typical paths to the top are hard to find and difficult to follow.

In Crack the C-Suite Code, Frangos reveals the hidden dynamics for reaching the C-suite. She offers expert guidance based on her experience as a consultant at Spencer Stuart and former head of global executive talent at Cisco, a company with 70,000 employees. Her deep research on the topic includes candid interviews with CEOs, hundreds of aspiring C-suite candidates, and the leading experts in the field.

Frangos identifies four core paths you can follow to reach the C-suite: The Tenured Executive, The Free Agent, The Leapfrog Leader, and The Founder. To actively improve your chances for success, she presents:

  • Insider knowledge from current CEOs and well known executives
  • Guiding questions that clarify the risks and rewards associated with each path
  • Accelerators and derailers that either enhance or detract from your chances to succeed
  • Advice on how to leverage your experience, leadership brand, and mindset to help you land on the C-suite short list
  • Insight on how the evolving role of the CEO affects your strategy to reach the top

A career playbook for anyone who aspires to the top spot, Crack the C-Suite Code features advice from successful C-level leaders, including Accompany’s Amy Chang, Goldman Sachs’ Edith Cooper, Nest’s Yoky Matsuoka, Cisco’s Chuck Robbins, and Corning’s Wendell Weeks. These and other top leaders from a broad range of companies, including Microsoft, Google, and General Electric, tell the stories of their success and help aspiring executives crack the C-suite code.

Do you know what it takes to reach the top? Take this brief quiz to test your knowledge: wdp.wharton.upenn.edu/blog_post/quiz-reach-the-c-suite/.

Featured Author Image

About the Author

Cassandra Frangos

Cassandra Frangos, EdD, joined Spencer Stuart’s Leadership Advisory Services team in 2018, where she focuses on collaborating with Fortune 500 leadership teams on executive assessments, succession planning, leadership development, and top team effectiveness. Previously, she led Cisco’s Global Executive Talent practice where she played an integral role in the 2015 succession planning for Cisco’s CEO, one of the most respected and longest- tenured CEOs in the tech industry, and conducted the research for Crack the C-Suite Code. Called “the executive whisperer” by Diversity Woman magazine, she has contributed to Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fortune, Chief Executive, NACD Directorship, SHRM publications, LinkedIn, Chief Learning Officer Magazine, HR People + Strategy, and Talent Quarterly.     ... More


“If you’ve ever wanted to really figure out how to ascend to the C-suite, this is your Rosetta Stone.”

—James M. Citrin, Leader, Spencer Stuart CEO Practice, and author, You’re in Charge, Now What?

“Frangos has created a roadmap for executives on the fast track.”

—Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author, Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor and Executive Presence

“Stories straight from CEOs combined with expert advice make this a true insider’s guide.”

—Boris Groysberg, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School


“With insightful advice and input from scores of C-suite executives, Frangos creates a roadmap for professional success that is both compelling and entertaining.”

—David P. Norton, co-founder, The Palladium Group, and co-creator, Balanced Scorecard Collaborative 


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