This blog post is the third 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 discusses the Citrix value of Respect, defined as “We are open, inclusive and empathetic.”

Anyone who lived through the Internet startup era knows flash-in-the-pan tech companies were — and continue to be — a dime a dozen. They are here today but gone tomorrow.

Citrix is different.

In stark contrast to the vast majority of IT companies, Citrix has not only endured but grown — in size, technology scope, geography and reputation. This remarkable trajectory has been built on our core values, which represent True North for our entire organization, including our partner ecosystem.

Many of our partners have been trusted companions on this successful journey for many years. They recognize the importance of shared values, particularly Respect, which guide every aspect of the evolving relationship.

Respect goes both ways

To respect others — their viewpoints, goals, preferences and backgrounds — you have to respect yourself and your organization first. Only when you are confident in your own integrity can you extend genuine respect to someone else, such as a business partner — and expect to receive it in return.

That’s why Integrity is the first and foundational Citrix Core Value: all the others — including Respect — are built on it.

Here’s a quick story to illustrate what I mean. For my entire career at Citrix, I’ve worked with a particular individual from one of our U.S.-based partners. He’s passionate about Citrix and has been part of the Citrix community far longer than I have. I consider him a friend and I value his opinion. But I finally had to speak up about the way he delivered that input — he would sometimes become angry and yell. Not always, but sometimes.

To uphold my integrity, I told him honestly, “When you act this way, it makes me less excited about helping you, and you know from experience that I do want to help.”

Weeks later, he came back to me and thanked me for giving him this feedback and for our willingness at Citrix to help. Bottom line: I respected him enough to call him on his behavior, and he respected me enough to listen to my input and do something about it. That was years ago, and today we have better communications and a stronger relationship than ever.

Respect leads to effective collaboration

Citrix aims for collaboration with our partners, rather than unilaterally dictating terms and requirements, because we respect and value their many contributions to their customers, to the business and to the industry as a whole.

Collaboration starts with respectful listening. This means carefully considering our partners’ ideas and comments – and acting on them when appropriate. We know that ignoring partner feedback would mean losing the opportunity to use this rich intel from the front lines to continuously improve our relationships, our products, our programs, our business – and our customers’ experience.

One example: my team recently held a large partner briefing conference in Bangkok, the first one of that size (250 partners) in a very long time. In a session with our partners, we received lots of channel feedback that we’re taking to heart.

We didn’t just listen to the commentary and walk away. We’re working to integrate this valuable knowledge because we know it makes us better and stronger. In fact, we are putting some of those partners in touch with the Citrix team that’s designing the 2018 partner program so they can help shape the program. This is collaboration in action, and it all stems from respect.

Respect for differences forges stronger partnerships

Our global partner ecosystem enhances and extends the value that Citrix offers to customers. But within that ecosystem, each partner is different, with unique skills, talents, knowledge, experience and contacts.

Not only does Citrix acknowledge partners’ distinctive strengths, we strive to support and promote them through programs, such as Citrix Specialist. By enabling partners to become recognized experts in Citrix networking, mobility and virtualization technologies, we help them stand out in the marketplace. Specialization appeals to customers looking for deep expertise, and frequently helps to tip the balance in closely contested deals. It also enhances both brands — the partner’s and ours.

Respecting differences also plays out in joint sales engagements where each party may have its own opinion about what’s best for the customer. I remember cases where the Citrix sales team wanted to sell XenDesktop Platinum to give customers the best value for their needs, but the partner believed XenDesktop Enterprise was “good enough.” I’ve also seen this happen with trade-up deals from XenDesktop to the Citrix Workspace Suite, where the partner might feel the easiest and most expedient course is just a renewal.

So, how to resolve these issues while respecting the other side’s view? We often suggest presenting (together with the partner) the additional value of the solution to the customer, and walking them through key features and benefits. This way, the customer understands the extra benefits they will get for their money. Importantly, the partner also becomes more knowledgeable and comfortable positioning the premium product or trade-up, which will help them best enhance the Citrix experience for future customers.

Guidance in real-world situations

In short, we understand that partnerships involve give and take. Both sides may have strong positions on an issue or process. The critical thing is to respect and empathize with the other person’s view – without compromising your own integrity or that of your organization. With mutual respect, along with our other core values, as our guide, together we can navigate even the bumpiest of roads. The journey isn’t always easy but, with the right partner and a good compass, it can be a sweet ride!

Stand by for the next post in the series, which will focus on the value of Curiosity and what it means for Citrix and our partnerships. See you then!

Missed the first or second installment in the series? Read them here: Citrix Values Are “True North” for Successful Partner Relationships and Integrity Is the Foundation that Partnerships Are Built On


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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