CHAPTER 7 Authority and Empowerment

“No one should be without accountability. It is a dangerous and lonely place to be.”

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UNDERSTANDING EMPOWERMENT

Your negotiations can only progress if communication flows and those who are directly or indirectly involved are allowed to take decisions. Therefore, understanding the role of empowerment in your negotiation is fundamental to managing the relationships and communications that stand between you and progress.

However, with empowerment comes exposure and this brings with it risk. It is this risk that organizations seek to control by empowering individuals with limits, or caps, beyond which they must escalate to higher authority. Too much empowerment and any individual can become dangerous or vulnerable and therefore so can the organization they work for.

The Complete Skilled Negotiator will understand empowerment in terms of:

  • how it can be used to protect you;
  • how it affects your ability to be creative;
  • how it affects your ability to build value; and
  • how it affects the other party’s thinking and behavior.

Essentially, it is the degree to which you can negotiate and take decisions without having to refer or escalate them to a higher authority. In other words, empowerment relates to the scope and range of variables and the authority within which you have to negotiate or operate. If you regard empowerment as simply a gauge to broaden or narrow your trading opportunities, or to provide “stop limits” up to which you can negotiate, ...

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