Negotiating Across Silos


Savitha Srinivasan is one of those authentic, effective leaders anyone would want as a colleague, mentor and friend. She consistently advocates for working passionately and strategically to further a cause, a technology, an idea, and does this as part of her work as a partner at the IBM venture group. Through her 20-year career at IBM, she focused on opportunities in many different areas, from research to venture financing, and currently leads the development of IBM’s services venture ecosystem, fostering partnerships, pilots and M&A insights with a wide range of stakeholders.
As someone who began her career at IBM’s prestigious Watson Research center and having earned 15 patents in unstructured information management, Savitha’s technical knowledge is extensive and her decades of experience in this area in many capacities gives her key insights on the trends in data analytics and its practical applications to the complex problems of today in the areas of health care, financial services, CRM, telecommunications and other areas.
Savitha generously shared her advice for negotiating across silos:
1. Be fact-based and speak to objective, quantifiable things like numbers and evidence.
2. Be entirely honest with yourself, and with those with whom you’re communicating. Do it, even if you don’t look good in the short term!
3. Know your strengths and your limits and surround yourself with people and resources who can complement what you have to offer.
4. Consistent honest, direct and transparent communication will build you a reputation as someone reliable with integrity and people will want to work with you.
5. Stretch your comfort zone and communicate with people who represent other divisions/silos/viewpoints.
6. Find and work for the win-win.
7. Communicate and negotiate with passion for something you believe in.
8. Continue to grow and expand the scope of what works for you.
9. Be customer-centric and negotiate on behalf of the customer.
10. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and speak a vernacular and language they understand.
The bottom line is that advancement and effectiveness will always be dependent on thinking strategically about the value you provide for the people that you work with, and understanding the needs of the ‘other side’ will help you create that value, and find a mutually-beneficial path forward.

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