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Submitted by edurbin on


 My direct asked if I would share my Outlook contacts with her and I'm hesitant. What do you recommend?

She simply wants to get contact info more easily for business matters as I delegate responsibilities. I feel uneasy about it, mostly because of all my notes on people, including her!

Is this something she should have to build on her own? 

Is there an easy way to share some information and exclude notes in Outlook?

Am I a wanker to not share?

Thanks in advance!


rrothwell's picture

Hi Eric

My first reading of your post was that you don't fully trust your team member, however on re-reading I also picked up that you keep your notes on people there. 

Your contacts are a resource owned by your company, so from that perspective they should be freely sharable. Perhaps you should have some kind of shared repository for such things (e.g. sharepoint).

On the other hand, you do require some confidentiality to perform your role as a manager. 

Perhaps you should find a new place for your notes about people, seperate from the core contact information.

My 2c anyway...


edurbin's picture
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Thanks for the advice, Rob.

Do you have recommendations on how to separate core contact from my own notes on who they are and what they like to talk about? Are you talking about two distinct systems? Is there a way to link them, or do you maintain them separately?

The main question that your notion of separating contacts raises for me is this: How do you decide who goes on the core contact information list, and who goes in some other place?

Do you have a firm demarcation of business contacts and personal contacts? I have bouncing in my head the words of Keith Ferrazzi from "Never Eat Alone" that ALL relationship are potential business contacts AND potential personal contacts. I tend to keep those lines pretty blurry in my own interactions. You never know what opportunities are brought by someone you know from a different "world."

What's your experience?

rrothwell's picture


I'm afraid I'm not sure how you could best go about it. If you're using sharepoint and outlook, I might have the business contacts in a sharepoint contacts list which you sync with outlook; that way when you're sending an email both sets of addresses are available.

It's not an issue I've needed to figure out myself, so I'm not sure I can provide any more concrete advice I'm afraid.


Ajoban's picture
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I don't know about the politically sensitive aspects of this question.  Who do your notes about contacts apply to, i've never had to define confidentiality in such a granular way.  But I can tell you how to use Outlook to facilitate shared and private contact lists.

In outlook:

1. right click on the data file name (above Inbox folder) and select new folder

2. the next window, specify that the folder contains 'Contact Items', and give a folder name

3. now you can specify sharing permision levels for your contacts with your direct and move all private contacts to your new 'non-shared folder'.  right-click; select properties -> permissions

This solution will work and allow you to share contacts, and allow your direct to update the contact list.


A couple gotcha's

* You'd have to figure out which contacts you want to share and keep private, you can share full details or none

* if you're syncing contacts with a smart phone you might get multiple contacts etc.

* if you want more fine grained control, perhaps use a better contact management tool or CRM, but sharing basic contacts in outlook, this might be fine.