Keith Pigues: Do your customers make more money doing business with you?

In Keith Pigues’ book, Winning with Customers, he poses the question, “Do your customers make more money doing business with you?”  When Keith asks that of his consulting clients at Luminas Strategy, that simple question rocks their world and quickly spotlights what needs to be changed.  Today, Keith talks to DT about being a leader, building companies with a focus on diversity and inclusion, and how we fight through this pandemic.

Keith Pigues Donald Thompson Podcast


Donald Thompson: Welcome to the Donald Thompson Podcast. Today, I have a good friend of mine, an expert in the space of value creation and marketing, Mr. Keith Pigues. Keith, welcome to the show.

Keith Pigues: Thank you, Don. Thank you, Don. It’s good to see you, man.

Donald Thompson: You as well my friend. One of the things that, that I like to do before I jump into the business, or if it’s political or whatever the topic, I want folks to take a moment to tell us about themselves. Tell us about your family, where you grew up; married, partner, single? Just give us a little bit about Keith so that we’re all talking as friends.

Keith Pigues: Okay. Fantastic. First of all, I’m married to my, my wife, Monica. We have four children; 21, 19, 17, and 15. So we’ve got a lot going on. It’s a great, great family.

I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. So I grew up in a family of all boys. So men, we had a lot of rough and tumble things going on.  My mom actually was a stay at home mom, my dad was an entrepreneur. So our family really had four things going on that we could count on.

We had academic excellence going on. It was a requirement.

We had athletics going on. We all played multiple sports. My brothers were much better than I was. We had entrepreneurship going on from, you know, we were knee-high to a grasshopper. That’s, that’s all I knew of when I was growing up. And then lastly, man, we were, we were in church. So, you know, those were the four things going on in our family and Memphis and uh, it was a great childhood, great childhood so.

Donald Thompson: Man, that is fantastic. And those pillars, right? If you think about powerful academics aligned with learning how to be on a team in sports, having that spiritual fiber, and then entrepreneurship, right?

Your parents created the opportunity where you could dream almost anything you wanted to become. And so my next question is how did you gravitate, right? Towards, towards business and what, what drove you there, given that you could probably have done any number of things, right? Career wise?

Keith Pigues: Yeah, that’s interesting. You know, there was a time, particularly when I was in high school, that I had a real struggle. I guess because I was thinking about going to college and what I was going to study, and I really enjoyed English and literature. And so I remember in my Junior year in high school being in a Shakespearian play, and I was like, “I’m loving this.”

So, loving Shakespeare, loving acting, it was really pretty cool. And on the other hand, you know, like three periods later, that same day in school, I’m in calculus and I’m like, “Man, I love this math.” Right? And so I really was torn about what I wanted to do. And ultimately, I decided to study electrical engineering in undergraduate school.

And so that, that kind of won out. But I knew in the background that I always wanted to do something business related. Because that’s what I knew. I don’t think I had a fair shot at doing–

Donald Thompson: –Anything else.

Keith Pigues: Because, you know, that’s all I knew. And during undergraduate school, I worked in two of my dad’s businesses at the same time, right? While getting an undergraduate degree in engineering. So I didn’t know anything else, you know. But there was a pivotal moment for me when I was still wrestling with engineering versus business. And it was a co-op experience that I had with General Motors. I actually began my undergraduate career at General Motors Institute.

And so I was in Dayton, Ohio working in a General Motors facility, the Delco Air Conditioning division. And my first rotation was to work in a calorimetry lab. Right? I’m sitting there testing these air conditioning compressors, putting in samples of oil, putting them on the tan, on the stand. They’re running and I’m capturing this data.

And I’ll tell you what man, about the third one of those I put on the stand and I’m sitting here, there were no people around, I’m locked in this room. I was dying. I went up to the glass on the door and started pressing my face against the glass waving at people. And I’m an intern, right? I’m 19 years old, was supposed to be here representing my school, and I said, “I can’t take this anymore.”

So fortunately I had other rotations, you know, on the manufacturing line and in sale, right? Where I was with people. But I knew at that point I was not cut out to be engineering, certainly not in a, you know, in a lab, somewhere studying and taking readings and– because I need people.

Donald Thompson: That is awesome, man. Hey, you know what? One of the things that I try to convey to people when they’re figuring out what they want to do and become, you got to try some things. Right? To know kind of where your lane is, and then sometimes what you do not want to do.

Keith Pigues: Absolutely.

Donald Thompson: That is awesome. Keith, when I look at your LinkedIn profile and impressed by all the number of things that you’ve done, the people that you helped, one of the things that jumps out at me that I, I want to unpack a little bit is when you talk about being an advocate for women in leadership and diversity and technology.

Tell me a little bit about your perspective there, why you think it’s important in business, and then, and then while you’re taking your time and effort to promote that, that theme, that agenda.

Keith Pigues: Well, you know, those two areas are important to me. Number one, because I’ve experienced what happens when people aren’t treated fairly. I’ve experienced what happens when you’ve got incredible talent, literally or figuratively sitting on the sidelines and you’re trying to accomplish results. It’s kind of like, you know, I remember growing up playing sandlot basketball, right? And you show up and uh, it’s next, you know. “Who’s next?” Right?

And so the person comes is going to choose the next team. And the person chooses all of his friends because they all came there together. They all know each other. And two of the friends really are really bad basketball players. Right? I mean they can’t hoop at all. You know, they’re friends and they traveled there together, and they’ve been traveling around, you know, from neighborhood to neighborhood together and they keep getting whipped.

They never make it past the next game. And there are two, like, all-star basketball players sitting on the side saying, “Pick me, pick me, pick me,” but they go for their friends. And I found that to be the case so many times in my corporate career, you know. All the major companies I worked for, for a time you know, Chief Marketing Officer. And I would look around the business and I would see so much talent underutilized.

And let’s face it, most of the people who were selected for the roles were people who the leaders had been rolling with. Again, their teams, who’ve been going sometimes company to company with.

Donald Thompson: Yep.

Keith Pigues: And in many cases they weren’t the “A-players.” Just flat out were not the “A-players” and they would push A-players to the side in favor of their friends, or those who they knew well, or those who they trusted. In many cases, in many cases, those people sitting on the sidelines were women and were people of color.

Donald Thompson: Yep.

Keith Pigues: And in particularly, black people. And so that’s just keeping it real. We’re having this reckoning right now, but this is not anything new and no one should be surprised or shocked. And this has been going on for a long time.

So I devote a lot of time and effort to that, to those two areas; women in leadership and diversity in technology. Because I think there’s a lot of talent that could create a lot of value for ventures and organizations in this country. And we need to continually find a way to get the best team on the field.

Donald Thompson: No, that’s perfect. I appreciate both the words and then the work that you’re doing. Right? Because there’s a lot of people that are, that have the words. Right? About diversity, equity, and inclusion. And then if we can get people to have the words and the work right, we can make some, some change.

You’re in the business of improving productivity of CEOs and CMOs and leadership teams. What would you share with them to help them understand the business value for them to think differently about diversity in key roles? When they’re coming from an experience where they just might not understand? It’s not necessarily racist as much as it’s experiential. How would you help them move into a direction of inclusion?

Keith Pigues: Well, I, I, I do a couple of things. First of all, I’ve been on, I think now, eight diversity, equity, and inclusion panels in the last five weeks. So I just keep getting these phone calls and I’m happy to do it. And have been all over the place, man, on these panels. And my messaging is the same. I have three points. I guess three is always good, right?

Three points. The first thing that I say is, to the leaders, “Be human. Be a human being. Look at the people in your orbit, the people that you come into contact in your organizations, those who you might be recruiting,” what have you. “Look at people as human beings and treat them the way you want to be treated.”

And I say, you know, “I know that that’s not going to cause any fireworks to go off, it’s not going to result in any lightning flashing or thunder roaring.” Right? But, basic leaders. I’m assuming that we’re in leadership business because we care about people.

Donald Thompson: Yep.

Keith Pigues: And leaders don’t lead P and L’s, and don’t lead balance sheets, and don’t lead plants, and don’t lead development laboratory. We lead people. So be a human being. And I can solve a lot of ills and create a really good perspective.

The second thing that I say is, “You know what? Get beyond the rhetoric, or in this case, get beyond the statements. All the organizations have made statements. And we appreciate the statements, but get beyond the statements and get real with your organization.”

I mean, get real about where you are. I have a former pastor of mine who used to say, I love this quote, “You got to get real if you want to get healed.”

Donald Thompson: Amen.

Keith Pigues: It applies to all of us, right? But when I think about it, as long as you’re writing statements about you abhor this, there’s no place in your organization where this, you stand against this.

That’s brave. But in doing so, turn that mirror around and look at your organization for real and say, “Okay, can I just be honest with myself? Can we be honest with ourselves about where we really are?” Whereas my 15-year-old daughter would say like, “For real, for real dad,” you know? And I think that for leaders, that humility, you know, that authenticity to say, “I know we’re not perfect. I know we got a lot of work to do. But before I put on this public face, let me just take a look in the mirror in our organization and say, ‘Folks, where are we really?'”

And I’m reminded of a conversation that a group of us had with Jamie Dimon when he was in town last Fall. We had a meeting over at Duke and we were there having a conversation with him and he began–it’s public now, but he started talking about how he was taking a look at diversity equity and inclusion in the people review. And his HR team presented him with the data, and they had this group called “People of Color.” And he said, “What’s a People of Color? Disaggregate the data for me.” And so they went away, they disaggregated the data, they brought it back to him and he said, “As I expected. Black people are at the bottom of every single category that we’re evaluating.” And he said, “So I want the team to know only bring me disaggregated data in the future. If we really want to understand where we are, let’s disaggregate the data and let’s get real about where we are.” He says, “Now we’ve found the opportunity.”

Donald Thompson: Yup. That’s powerful. And I think that most people, when you talk about, and I’ll let you get to your third point in just a second. But when we look at the data from a real problem-solving point of view, then we want truth.

Keith Pigues: Right.

Donald Thompson: If we’re looking at data for press release fodder, then we want what will make us look good not will make us improve. And so I think you make a powerful point there. And so I appreciate the human decency beyond the statements. What’s number three?

Keith Pigues: Number three is, “Hey, this is a business problem or opportunity, man. Let’s, let’s keep it strategic.” Right? And when I say, as you know, what’s really interesting for me around the diversity equity inclusion, and it’s consistent as I hear leaders talk, there’s a different tone and tenor, right? You know, you and I both long time executives, right? If there is an opportunity or a challenge in the marketplace, what do we do? First thing we do is we get educated. We explore. We might even bring in outside consultants to help us understand the market or the market opportunity or the technology or the customers or whatever.

Right? We do that. Secondly, we create a vision. Right? Where is it that we want to be, right? Enrolled and engaged people so everyone can look to where we’re trying to go. Then we develop a strategy. It usually has three pillars or three prongs. Right? This is what we’re going to do. The things we’re going to do to get there.

Then we developed some metrics, right? Some metrics of success. And then we hold people accountable and we incentivize them to get the results that we want. I mean, it’s a tried and true formula. It’s what executives, it’s what leaders use. And so what I share and shared in these eight or so panels thus far, help me understand why that seems to break down when it comes to diversity and inclusion? I just don’t understand. Because it works for everything else.

Because you know what? If I really wanted to understand how important things are, those are the metrics I look for. Those are the things that I look to, to be in place if you say it’s important. So if your letter says it’s important, but those things are missing. I question, honestly, whether it’s really as important as you say it is. Because if I ask you, “Is your focus on your commitment to environmental sustainability, is it serious?”

They would go, “Yeah.” How would I know? Because I can go to the annual report. There’s a whole section there. They review it with the board, every board meeting, right? Each company can tell me when they plan to be carbon neutral. They can give me a year and quarter of the year if they plan to be carbon neutral.

They’ll show me milestones of progress they want to make toward becoming carbon neutral every year. They put people in place, they’ve resourced it, they funded it. Right? And they’ve got metrics they report on internally and externally. And they’re transparent. So if you can do that with environmental sustainability, what prevents you from doing that with diversity, equity, and inclusion? Again, I don’t understand.

Donald Thompson: That is, I mean, there’s a lot,  I’m glad we’re recording this. Because there’s, there’s a masterclass in one, handling objections, and two, what is the process? How you can think smartly about something pretty quickly, right? And it’s, and it’s not actually overly complicated. And to your point, it’s very similar to what executives do all the time.

I would add that there is a fear about the unknown when it comes to race and gender and sexual orientation that makes the tried and true business principles break down because there’s something that people are afraid of because they don’t have experience with it. And, and that’s the, that’s the thing that I see in the work that we’re doing; is that if we can have a, a conversation with executive teams where there’s not the judgment component, there’s the, to your point, education component.

And then we recognize the things that link DEI to the economic drivers and their goals. We then see more motion. But left to people’s own devices. There’s so many other things people can do with their time that they let that fear of, of change– if I promote more African-Americans, there’s less for me. If I promote and grow more women, there’s less for me.

Somebody’s got to teach people that we’re in the “grow the entire pie” business. And if we grow the pie of a successful enterprise, there’s plenty for everyone. And that’s kind of the winner’s mentality that we’re looking for in clients that we’re working on. But I, I love it, right?

Keith Pigues: Yeah. I mean, we’re not in a scarcity situation, right?

Donald Thompson: That’s right.

Keith Pigues: We’re absolutely not. And you know, you started that by asking the question of, you know, really around the business case. Right? It was interesting though, so again, if we just take a step back from this. Before the pandemic, before the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic, we were in an unemployment environment of 3 to 4%.

Okay? Economists suggest that when we get through this pandemic on the other side, we’re going to be back long-term, to 3 to 5% unemployment rate. Okay. In a 3 to 5% unemployment rate environment, you cannot afford not to pick the best people, treat them well, pay them well, give them great opportunities for growth and promote them so they will stay.

Because opportunities abound. So this is a business issue. This is a “bet your business issue” in some industries and for some companies, right? Because we will be back to a 3 to 5% unemployment environment and it’s going to get real. And one prediction, companies that did not treat their people well when they were making decisions about how they were treating people during the pandemic, are going to pay for it dearly. Their brands will suffer amongst perspective employees.

And so, the other thing to note about that, because we’re talking about supply and demand, when you’re in a 3 to 5% unemployment environment, the power is with the employee. Now, a lot of companies haven’t caught up yet. They haven’t gotten the message yet that you’re not in control.

Your employees are in control. And if you don’t create the culture that they want, that they can thrive in, you’re just absolutely not going to get the people. They’re not going to come to work for you. And by 2027 I think it is, estimates are that 70% of the people in the workforce in the United States will be either millennial or gen Z.

So, here we are, 3 to 5% employment rate, people with a short memory about what happened during the pandemic, and then dealing with millennials and gen Z, love them or hate them, who will roll in a minute just say, “I’m done. I don’t  want to, don’t want to give you a two weeks’ notice. I don’t need severance package. I didn’t like the way you treated me. I don’t like the vision of your company. I don’t think that you care enough about the environment or social causes. I’m out.”

Right? And so you think about winnowing away of your employee retention. You know, from three years, to two and a half, to two years, to one and a half. I mean, you’re going to spend all your time and money on a treadmill just trying to keep people.

Donald Thompson: And the people that stay with you will be the average ones.

Keith Pigues: That’s right.

Donald Thompson: It’s even, it’s even one step worse, right? Because your, your transient group will be your A-players and the people you’re trying to build your strategy against are going to be your B minus, C plus players.

Keith Pigues: Right. And you can’t win. Right. Because those are the people who were selected on that basketball court. Right? Who are rolling with you, but they can’t play, they can’t dribble, right? But they’re with you. And you know what’s interesting about that, there’s a term that we use,  when people leave your company, right? There are two ways that they leave. You have people who quit and leave. Some of those you may want to leave, right? Some you, you know, you really don’t want them to leave, but people quit and leave. The second way that people leave your company is that they quit and stay, right?

Donald Thompson: Mm.

Keith Pigues: There are people who shut down on you, they are not giving you their best, they’re not giving you what you need. And in fact, in many cases, they’re more interested in their side hustle. Come on, now. Their side hustle, or the thing that they’re passionate about, and they’re just using your company for salary and benefits. And companies are just going to have to just get real because that’s, there’s a lot of people in that category today.

Donald Thompson: Mm.

Keith Pigues: And unless they have a culture where they can tap into what people are passionate about, right? They’re not going to get what they want from their people.

Donald Thompson: No, that’s powerful.

Keith Pigues: I think they’re going to have to change. There are going to have to be some cultural shifts being made so that you’re right for this and the next generation of talent.

Donald Thompson:  I don’t have anything to, to add. That is powerful. And it is a lived experience that comes across, right? In the way that you communicate it. And I think our audience is going to appreciate the way you broke down into some of the different nuggets, so they can carry that with them as they take decisions.

I want to pivot for a little bit, and I haven’t gotten all the way through it. But I’ve been working on it. Right? Because this is, I’m working on your book, Winning with Customers.

Keith Pigues: I’ve heard it helps you, it helps you get to sleep at night.

Donald Thompson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it’s good stuff. Because I’ve got a couple of things that I want to ask you about I’m going to read, and I’m going to ask you to expand upon a little bit.

Keith Pigues: Okay.

Donald Thompson: Right. From, from what you’re doing. And we’re in, this is early, maybe the end of the first chapter. “We lose because we don’t understand the customer’s perspective.” Right? When, when we, and I’ll make a statement and I’ll, I’ll tell you why the things in this chapter that jumped out at me, is, I’ve not learned as much from my successes as I have from the things that didn’t go well. And I’ve got plenty of those on my resume.

Now I don’t highlight them on LinkedIn, but they’re there.

Keith Pigues: We all have that.

Donald Thompson: Expand a little bit about this process of losing, what are we missing? What don’t we understand?

Keith Pigues: Yeah. Thank you for that question, man. You know, it’s interesting. We, my co-author Jerry Alderman and I really struggled when we were naming, titling that first chapter, because you want to start with something positive, right?

We wrestled with that, right? And finally we said, “Okay, there is no better way to get this book started and deal with this first chapter other than right here, where the pain is.” Right? And so we titled it, “Why We Lose.” Right? And we, we do lose because we don’t have the customer’s perspective.

And we’ve seen this with our clients all over the world. Continually, people as individuals think first about themselves. Now we’re not even talking about business yet. Right? We’re just talking about people right now. We do. We think about ourselves, and our stuff, and our goals, and what we want to achieve.

And what I say is, that’s not a bad thing, but there’s a sequence to the way this thing works. So first, we have to think about that other party. In this case, the customer or the client. If we start there and understand the client or customer’s perspective on what they’re trying to achieve, why they’re trying to achieve it and what we can do and do uniquely–

Donald Thompson: Yep.

Keith Pigues: –To help them achieve that, that others can’t do, then we have a fair shot at really helping them and differentiating ourselves. And so we lose in many cases because we haven’t taken the time to understand the customer’s perspective. And understanding the customer’s perspective is not saying, “Hey, what’s keeping you up at night?”

I’m not talking about that. I’m like, really understanding their business, understanding their business model, understanding their strategies, understanding their key performance indicators, right? And understanding what levers they are attempting to pull to drive growth and profitability.

And let’s face it, a lot of organizations don’t take the time to understand their customers at that depth. But those who do, when they’re able to do that, then they can really deliver what we call differential value. Because they know specifically that this is the area to focus. I can do that really, really well. I’ve got something unique that I can provide there and it’s going to help to move that key performance indicator in ways that other things the customers considering, you know, will not.

And I can help that customer make more money. And then I can, in return, capture my, or maybe more than, my fair share. Right? But I have to create the value with the customer first in ways that others can’t, then we can start talking about sharing. And as you know, on the cover of the book, Winning with Customers, we asked this question, right?

“Do your customers make more money doing business with you?” Oh man. We, that question has rocked some people’s worlds. And really has resulted in us helping a lot of clients. Because if your senior executives can’t answer that question with confidence, you know there’s work to do.

Donald Thompson: That’s powerful. And you boiled it down so succinctly; that across any industry, any business that I’m starting, I’m thinking about, “Can I answer that question?” And, “Can I scale that answer after I get from 10, 20, 30, 50 clients?” Right? Another thing that you said over the years, and I try to give you credit. I promise. When I share the statement, you’ll, you’ll remember, but that, when you talk about “value creation,” is that clients need to experience your value.

And I’ve heard you talk about that value creation and that experiential thing. Expand upon how we can amplify that in our relationships, to where the customers can truly touch and feel and experience that value creation that we deliver for them?

Keith Pigues: Yeah. So, so here’s what happens, right? So when two organizations are doing business, and I’ll work in this space, it’s all B2B, right? Well, there’s B2B products, companies, or services, but it’s all B2B. And that’s important because the metrics that we use really help to connect to companies. Right? And so if you’re delivering some differential value to a company, they should be able to experience it and see it on their P and L. Now, what happens in the course of doing business together, organizations lose sight.

They place orders, you deliver. They buy, you respond. Right? And in the transaction of the moment, people lose sight of what’s happening above. And what’s happening above is a value exchange. Right? And where that value exchange is really working well, both parties are getting what they desire.  And so when I say that companies or your customers have to experience it, you have to make it plain for them.

Donald Thompson: Got it.

Keith Pigues: So on a regular basis, you’ve got to say, “Hey, I know we’ve been blowing and going. I know we’re just, we’re doing what we can to, to serve you, to help you win in the marketplace. Let’s take some time to take a step back. Let’s look at what we did together last year.” We always look at the last 12 months or last fiscal year of the customer’s business. “And let us share with you what we think we have done to deliver differential value for you.”

So whether it’s in our supply chain, whether it’s in our product quality, whether it’s in our delivery time, whether it’s in these breakneck features, breakneck features that we have that help your people to do something they couldn’t before or do it faster or whatever.

And oh, by the way, we’d like to take the next step and give you our estimate of how it’s impacted your P and L.

Donald Thompson: Got it.

Keith Pigues: Right? That’s experiencing it. Now. They may say, “Donald, you’re out to lunch.” And you would say, “Okay, tell me exactly where I’m out to lunch? And how I can make it better?”

Donald Thompson: That’s right.

Keith Pigues: Or they’ll say, “Donald, I’m so glad you took the time to come and sit down with our team because we’ve been doing business together. We’re just doing stuff together. It’s all good. Well, we’d never stopped to think about what kind of value are we getting from DT, DT’s organization that we couldn’t get elsewhere?”

Intuitively we kind of felt it and now we’re helping them to experience it through their lens; focused on their key performance indicators, and the extent to which they impact either their sales growth that they couldn’t get elsewhere, or their cost reductions that they couldn’t get elsewhere. Now that’s experiencing the value.

Donald Thompson: One of the things that, you know, as we, as we wind, because I’ve, I’ve enjoyed, and I knew I would chatting with you and learning from you. I want to give you some space to talk about Luminous Strategy and why you all have been successful helping companies, right? Find that “differentiated value proposition.” Right? And talk a little bit about your firm and what you all do. And I know our team and our listeners are anxious to hear a little bit.

Keith Pigues: We’ve been fortunate. We’re really thankful. This year, 2020, during the pandemic. I know it’s not been an easy year for a lot of organizations, man.

And I understand that. And a number of our clients, you know, have really, really been hit hard. A number of consulting firms have been, been challenged. Boutique consulting firms in particular, have been challenged. And so I even hesitate sometimes to say this is the best year we’ve had since our founding.

And it’s in part because of, you know, the question that you asked. What we are finding is that while this is important during good times, people have a tendency during good times to overlook those things they really need to do to maintain the business. Right? You know, to make sure everything’s working well.

They skip that 60,000 mile check up and say, “Well, I’ll catch it at 70,000.” Right? Because they’re just blowing down the highway going 150 kilometers an hour. Right? But what we’ve found is that as organizations began to think about the challenges ahead, right? And growth came to a halt, or growth slowed significantly, it caused them to take a step back and say, “Wow, is our value proposition, the right one for tomorrow? It may have been great for yesterday.”

Donald Thompson:  That’s right.

Keith Pigues: “But is it the right one for tomorrow?” Right? And in fact, we harken back to some things that happen  in the, in the Recession, 2008.

And in fact, in the book, we talk about something that happened in 2008 where one of our, our clients was doing business with Lowe’s, Lowe’s as a customer. And Lowe’s was trying to figure out, you know, where to cut costs. And they were like peanut butter spread. Let’s just cut the cost. Right?

And our client was like, “Can we take some time to really try and understand in the segment where they played,” which was roofing shingles, right? So it’s Owens Corning, is our client, and said, “Let’s just spend some time trying to understand really what’s changed in the marketplace and what may need to change with their value proposition.”

And what they learned was that contractors now had a lot of choices to choose from, but there were not a lot of homes being built or remodeled. And so now they walked into Lowe’s and they had these five different roofing shingle brands to choose from. But Lowe’s had decided to cut its costs meaning there weren’t many people on the floor to help these roofing contractors get their questions answered about these various roofing shingle products. So Owens Corning said, “We’re now going to provide members of our team to work in Lowe’s on the floor to answer questions for the roofing contractors.”

So who do you think the roofing contractors select over and over again for their roofing products among these five competitors? Because Owens Corning understood that their value proposition needed to change. It needed to be one about education.  And so they over hired, placed people in the stores to help Lowe’s–  and Lowe’s loved that because now they had experts on the floor to help serve their customers when they came in the door. That’s a simple thing that was worth a lot of money. But what, why were they able to do that? Because they were able to take a step back, focus on their customer, the pivot or the change in the environment, and what they needed now was this additional help on the floor to help educate and serve their customers in order to accomplish their goals.

And so we believe that that’s really where we are right now. A lot of companies are having to take a step back and think about how we serve our clients with a or our customers with a different value proposition because in many respects, markets have changed, competitive set has changed, internal company strategies have changed to be successful. And so we think that’s one of the reasons why we’re having such a great year and we’re, we’re having clients over and over again ask us to do work and more work. And we’re, we’re thankful. So.

Donald Thompson: Man, that is phenomenal. Proud of you. You’re an inspiration. It’s really important that we find people in collective spaces that might not do what we do but are chasing dreams big like we want to dream. And for me, you’re one of those people and I appreciate what you’re doing, the success you’re having, but more importantly, that I’m always seeing or reading, or when I’m hearing about you, you’re taking a moment just like when you’re talking about women in tech and different things to give back.

And I always kind of watched out of people that I admire; I’m trying to emulate. Like I’m seeing their business succeed, I’m seeing what they’re doing, what are they doing to put a little bit back into that community, that environment, that, that treated them well? And I’m proud to call you friend and I really appreciate you taking some time to spend with our audience. This has been great.

Keith Pigues: Oh Don, it was my pleasure, man. Thank you for having me, man. I really, I really appreciate it.

Full Episode Transcript

The Donald Thompson Podcast is hosted by Walk West CEO, mentor, investor, and Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Donald Thompson.

Music for this episode provided by Jensen Reed from his song, “You Can’t Stop Me”.

The Donald Thompson Podcast is edited and produced by Earfluence. For more on how to engage your community or build your personal brand through podcasting, visit

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