This blog post is the second in a series covering Citrix’ core values and their relevance for our partner ecosystem, both at a high level and on a day-to-day basis. It explores the Citrix value of Integrity, defined as “We act with honesty and hold each other accountable.”
A strong partnership — like the relationship between Citrix and the members of our partner ecosystem — is built on a foundation of integrity. Each party trusts the other to be honest and straightforward in its business dealings, to play by the rules, to work toward shared goals instead of selfish interests, and to communicate clearly, without hidden meanings or agendas.
Why is trust so important?
It’s not only because being trustworthy is viewed by most people as the right thing to do. Trust — or the lack thereof — also has an impact on the effectiveness of the partnership. According to Speed of Trust, by Stephen Covey, trust improves communication, and by doing so, speeds up transaction efficiency and lowers costs at the same time. One of the main reasons for this efficiency? Trustworthy partners act in consistent and reliable ways that avoid time-consuming and expensive cycles of confusion or uncertainty.
Being honest about mistakes
Unfortunately, partnerships are not perfect. I can recall more than a few examples where Citrix, frankly, messed up. We did not act the way a good business partner should. In one particular instance, a newer member of our sales team, who was excited to close a deal at the end of a long sales cycle, worked directly with the customer and agreed on a slightly different approach that ended up changing the entire solution configuration. Specifically, the customer originally was thinking XenApp Enterprise, but was now going with XenApp Platinum. And (I’m sure you can see this coming) the partner was not consulted or informed of this important change.
You can imagine our partner’s surprise when they submitted their quote to the customer! To make matters worse, this was a trusted partner that I’d personally been doing business with for more than a decade. Despite being embarrassed, I quickly admitted that we made a mistake, and looked for ways to improve the training of new sales reps.
For me, operating with integrity not only means acknowledging when you are wrong, but also actually doing something about it to right the wrong.
Honesty is one pillar of the Citrix value of Integrity. The other is accountability. This balance recalls President Ronald Reagan’s famous admonition: “Trust, but verify.”
Accountability complements and strengthens honesty by adding consequences. In other words, the trust that partners feel for each other is borne of actions. Each party is obligated to answer to the other, to accept responsibility for its decisions and to reveal the results.
Opening the curtain
A critical factor in establishing an honest partnership is giving the other party a look “behind the curtain” of the business.
For Citrix, being transparent with our partners allows them to understand important business plans, strategies and decisions, such as product and sales roadmaps. That’s why we hold the Citrix Summit conference under nondisclosure — so we can open up to partners about our goals for the coming year and give them an advance look at upcoming product launches.
Another example of transparency is our recent decision to give partners access to Citrix Consulting Services tools and methodology, which are highly valuable intellectual property. Sharing these resources with partners demonstrates our commitment to collaborating vs. competing in the lucrative services delivery sector.
Also, while not currently packaged up for wide consumption, we’ve invited a number of our partners to spend a day with our Inside Sales team in Ft. Lauderdale and shared best practices and tactics used by that team. Exercises like these encourage a free exchange of ideas and build stronger partnerships.
Creating a culture of accountability
How does Citrix demonstrate accountability to our partners? Here are five of the ways we work towards our goal:
- We develop high-quality, reliable, and market-leading products based on unmet customer demand to make them easier for partners to sell, implement, and support.
- We acknowledge and quickly resolve any issues with these technologies to reinforce our partners’ sterling reputation in the industry.
- Our Partner Account Managers are evaluated — and rewarded — based in part on the success of the partners they work with.
- We actively solicit partner input and feedback through councils and surveys, and explain how we are using this information to improve our offerings and processes.
- We are not afraid to admit when we are wrong. We try things out and if they don’t work, we fix them.
Integrity in action
As mentioned above, Citrix has its own professional services group, Citrix Consulting Services (CCS). While CCS does provide services directly to end customers, it is a relatively small organization. That’s why its overall mission is to help our most strategic customers succeed with our technologies, then we broadly share what we’ve learned so that our entire ecosystem can be successful together.
I recall a time when, in order to get a specific product deal done, we packaged CCS with the product, effectively boxing out our partner’s services. This particular partner had been actively involved in the deal and was very capable, but we were committed to the package we had provided and could not undo it. Upon realizing what had happened, the Citrix consultants actually spent some time with this partner after the fact, showing them how they could expand their offerings to add even more value to the customer while growing their own practice. In addition, CCS brought the partner in for a debrief on the consulting engagement so that they could continue to support their customer after the design work was completed.
In summary, we know we’re not always going to make the right call. Mistakes and misunderstandings can happen in any long-term business relationship. Where great partnerships are made—or broken—really depends on how both sides react to these types of situations. And we are committed to building our relationships with Integrity.
Keep an eye out for the next installment, which will focus on the value of Respect and what it means for Citrix and our partnerships. See you then!
Missed the first installment in the series? Read it here: Citrix Values Are “True North” for Successful Partner Relationships
Craig Stilwell, Worldwide VP of Partner Sales & Strategy, has more than 23 years of technology experience, including more than 17 years at Citrix, most recently serving as Area Vice President of our U.S. Commercial business responsible for all sales and products in the U.S. Commercial segment. Previously, Craig served in several roles at Citrix, notably as Vice President of Americas Channel Sales & Field Operations.
Connect with Craig on Twitter: @CraigTStilwell
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