Building Personal Connections and Strengthening Professional Relationships

Written By: Debra Christmas, Executive Partner 

Working from home is an interesting experience for all of us – especially amidst the current climate when so many of us are used to showing up to the office, meeting with our clients in person and engaging with colleagues throughout the day. For many of us at Gartner, this has been quite the shift over the past few weeks. 

Many of us are very well equipped with all the right technology, a dedicated space/office and the discipline to get up, walk around, take breaks, eat and shut down before the wee hours of the morning. But for some, remote work will create new challenges and obstacles, especially as our main goal remains unchanged – deliver valuable and strategic insights to our clients worldwide. What does this look like given the landscape of the world? 

As a member of Gartner’s Executive Partner team, I see many of my clients putting in very long hours as they navigate this new world order. Instead of spending several hours a day commuting, these people are online at 6 or 7 AM and don’t log off until dark. Their daily schedules have changed dramatically as they look for solutions to keep their organizations afloat – endless demands of their time to ensure their teams and leadership have what they need to do their jobs. 

So, where does Gartner come in?

Our team of Executive Partners has quickly pivoted to ensure we’re able to keep up with the ever-changing needs of our clients. Typically, we’d meet clients face-to-face on a quarterly basis, sometimes every month depending on our location. But as the scope of our client base has expanded, we’ve become more used to remote meetings and virtual client interactions – so that we can stay connected no matter the distance between us. What’s the biggest change we’ve seen as the world adapts to COVID-19 travel restrictions? Many of our clients have become home bound – no longer meeting with us from their corporate offices. 

As more and more associates around the world make this shift towards remote work, conference calls turn into home tours, conversations about artwork, hobbies and family have allowed us to really get to know the clients we serve. Furniture, wall color and family treasures allow for us to take a glimpse into the personal world’s, tastes and interests of our clients. For members of Gartner’s Executive Partner team, it’s these moments of personal connection that have helped us foster relationships with some of the most senior executives of the world’s largest technology companies in the world. 

Recently, I learned that one of my clients is an amateur photographer in his free time after seeing a 16×20 photograph of his parent’s birthplace in the background of our call. Another client of mine shared their love of unique glasses frames when they appeared in bright blue and green lenses to our virtual catch up. I’ve seen clients interact with their children and have met spouses – allowing me to see these executives in a whole new light. 

Our clients are the strong, reputable leaders of global enterprises. My guess? Many of them are putting themselves last – worrying about how to take care of their families and employees. Losing sleep over what potentially lies ahead. Whether it’s sharing research and insight on a specific business challenge or chatting about your blue and green glasses, Gartner is here to help, even if it means bringing a bit of humanity and compassion into the conversation. 

We have always been here for our clients, but now we get to be even more impactful as we reach inward and touch their hearts.


Learn more about our corporate culture and what it’s like to work at Gartner here.

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