Skip to main content

CVForward  >  Collaborating with the C-Suite


Communicating with the C-Suite is an essential skill for you and your department. Here are 5 proven strategies to help you negotiate in this sometimes challenging situation.


Kevin C. “Casey” Nolan

Scott Garavet, MBA

Receive exclusive updates

Subscribe to CVForward
1: Start with their needs

Put yourself in the C-Suite’s shoes. All day long, leaders from different departments come asking for things. Every department needs money, resources, staffing, etc.

Take a different approach. Start with their needs. Start with questions: What is on your mind when it comes to the CVSL? What metrics are you hoping the CVSL can deliver? How can the CVSL support the goals of the organization?

Find out what is top of mind for them and then see how your CVSL initiative can help them. This approach puts you and your CVSL on a different level from other departments. Where other departments may be coming with problems, you are coming with solutions.

In addition, being empathetic and understanding goes a long way toward creating a productive working relationship.

2: Learn to speak their language

When you’re talking with executives, don’t lead with discussions about technology. The language of the cath lab is not the language of the C-Suite. Members of your C-Suite want to hear about value and growth in addition to improving patient care.

Speaking the language of the C-Suite is essential to gaining their support.

3: Make it real for them

What actually happens in the CVSL is real to you. A powerful way to motivate the C-Suite is to show them the true impact of your CVSL.

Extend an invitation to a key C-Suite member to come take a tour of your CVSL. Put them in scrubs and let them see the technology, the team dynamics, and the coordination of care. Invariably, they will leave with a sense of pride over “their” CVSL and the clinical outcomes that it delivers.

“It's not a number, it's not a spreadsheet. It's an actual clinical outcome.”

-Scott Garavet

Make an impact on your C-Suite
4: Bring your staff into meetings

Members of your staff may often see the C-Suite as being unapproachable. So bring one of your staff members with you to a key administration meeting. Let them see first-hand what really happens at those meetings.

They will see that members of the C-Suite are truly dedicated to patient care. They will see the conflicting pressures that the C-Suite is managing and come away with a far greater understanding and respect of the realities of administration.

They will bring these discussions back to their peers and present a more accurate portrayal of your job and the role of the administration which can make it easier to collaborate with all stakeholders moving forward.

5: Build alliances

Far too often, CVSL leaders find themselves competing against other departments.

Get rid of the silos and start approaching other departments as allies. Reach out to orthopedic or neurological service lines to learn where departments can overlap. Tour their department and invite their leaders to tour your CVSL.

Very often, you will find opportunities to join forces to spearhead an initiative that benefits both departments—and the entire institution. And when you come to the C-Suite as a leader who builds bridges for the good of the institution, you will be viewed in an entirely different light.

“It's an incredibly exciting period of time, and the opportunity to have an impact in your communities and your service lines is just unbelievable.”

- Kevin C. “Casey” Nolan

Related content

Visit these websites for more helpful information from other industry thought leaders.

The Lessons of Experience: How Successful Executives Develop on the Job

Center for Creative Leadership

This classic book, based on information from 191 accomplished and high-potential executives, describes key developmental events and the lessons that can be learned from them. This book was called out by the CVForward roundtable as an excellent resource on the topic of negotiating with the C-Suite.

C-Suite CV Executives Prepare for an Evolving Landscape

Justine Varieur Cadet

This roundtable video features 4 physicians discussing the challenges that confront hospital executives in the cardiovascular field. 

C-Suite: Key Challenges in Coming Year

Want to know what is top of mind for your C-Suite? shares this report that calls out the major challenges facing C-Suites in 2017. 

You might be interested in

Launching a TAVR Clinic: Tips for CVSL Leaders
Launching a TAVR Clinic: Tips for CVSL Leaders
At-a-Glance guide to motivating the C-Suite
At-a-Glance guide to motivating the C-Suite
CVSL Strategy: Ways to Implement a Strategic Plan
CVSL Strategy: Ways to Implement a Strategic Plan


The hub for CVSL leadership

Join the CVForward LinkedIn Group


Join the CVForward LinkedIn Group

Explore articles, videos, and more

Content Library

Explore articles, videos, and more



Have a story you’d like to share or a topic you’d like to see discussed? Tell us more