Connecting has to do with information, and how freely it is shared.  Connecting focuses on two things: how people enter the physical space of social interaction, and the way in which information is shared between people.


Exclusive cultural preference

When it comes to people connecting in a physical space, a person with an Exclusive approach assumes that conversations have to be concluded or come to a pause before you can engage with the participants. In the meantime, you should keep a respectful distance. If someone is on the phone, you might even decide to leave the room to give the other person freedom to have a private conversation.


Inclusive cultural preference

In the Inclusive connecting world, people are much more fluid about including others in a conversation. It is perfectly appropriate to come up close and interrupt or join in. The people having the conversation may pause and change topics, or keep on and include you. They may give you space to listen even if you don't know anything about the topic. Once you're physically within their space you might hear things like, "You are more than welcome to join us for this meal, we're just having a business conversation, welcome!"

Misunderstanding can arise from these cultural preferences. People with an exclusive-connecting preference can find inclusive-connecting people invasive and pushy, whereas people who prefer to be inclusive can feel that exclusive people are awkward and un-engaging.
Inclusive Connecting Conversation


Inclusive and Exclusive Information Sharing

Connecting also plays out in the ways information is shared or guarded in an organization. In a strong exclusive-connecting environment, people tend to assume that only what is explicitly requested needs to be shared, and that the only person who needs to see that information is the one who submitted the request.

When two exclusive connecting colleagues are working together, their communication tends to be uncluttered. They share only what is relevant to the task, and are okay saying no to unauthorized requests. The requester knows how to ask for the right information, and how to phrase the question to get what he or she needs. Exclusive connectors tend to think inclusive ones are chaotic, and that weeding through all the extra discussion is exhausting.

Inclusive connectors, on the other hand, assume that the other party will share and try to figure out how to help. They expect more back and forth on what is needed and why. Inclusive connectors tend to view exclusive ones as less collaborative.

In an exclusive connecting culture, people tend to be more focused on your specific request than the broader goals. If you send an email or give a quick phone call to a colleague, and say, "I remember a study was recently done on xyz, would you happen to have access to the research report that was produced?" In an exclusive-connecting culture the other party would say, "Yes, I have it, I’ll send it to you." They would then check whether you were authorized and send the report you requested.

But in a more inclusive-connecting environment, the other party would try to find out a bit more about the request. "Can I ask what you need it for? What are you working on?" They would go beyond the question and attempt to understand why the information is needed, and be quicker to provide extra details. Your explanation for requesting the file might lead them to provide you additional information and documents. If you as the requester are an inclusive connector, you would expect this kind of response.  You might be upset later if you found out the person was sitting on a lot more information that could have helped and only sent the one report.

If two people are the same side of this dimension, they will know how to ask from each other and give in a way they feel is effective and efficient.  But with an inclusive asker and an exclusive responder (or vice versa) frustrations can start to rise. The frustration is usually not just with what's given and not given, but what they think of the other person relationally.

Exclusive Cultural Preference


One way an inclusive connector can reduce these frustrations is to learn to ask for information more specifically from exclusive connectors. Do your homework first so you know what to ask for, and you will likely find that colleague very helpful.


How to manage the Connecting dimension

In organizational culture, many factors influence people's connecting styles and what culture in a department may be best. When you develop policy and procedure, ask yourself how tight authorization procedures for information sharing need to be. In some departments and industries it may be better to be exclusive, because security, safety or confidentiality are at stake. In others, the incidental information sharing that comes through an inclusive-connecting preference is beneficial.

We had an issue with a department of over 120 people in a huge multinational company recently where the company culture created by the performance management system worked harmfully against the employees' natural inclination to be inclusive.  It was a sales team who were supposed to share information with each other about clients and opportunities, to help each other pitch. But they were measured individually on their performance. The system made them exclusive, afraid they would lose their commission if they shared too much. They felt bad about it, but had to protect the commission.

We helped them alleviate the uncomfortable pressure by shifting some of their performance measures to group metrics: measuring group success at bringing in business instead of just individuals. That encouraged better sharing of information, and improved sales as a result. 

If you are involved in stakeholder management or key account management, it is more beneficial to be on the inclusive side. If more than one person is involved in servicing a client, then you would certainly hope your colleagues are inclusive, and give you everything you need to serve that client or stakeholder well.

Discussions on these topics should happen in a team setting, so that there is a common understanding of how exclusive or inclusive team members need to be in different settings.



* Original from KnowledgeWorkx


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