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David Mills
By David Mills on October 12, 2022

How gold mining tell us who to trust with our growth

Part 4 of 13 Growth Barrier Busting

Breaking through growth barriers with the right kind of help

It's the dirt piles that tell the story. When I was growing up in California, we'd visit all kinds of mines. We know how to spot a mine on a hill from a distance - it had tailings. These were the discarded rock and minerals that weren't gold.

Old tailings told us that someone used to mine on that spot, but it would be hard to know what they found.

Active tailings meant someone was working the mine right now. We didn't go around those locations. 

You might think that having a large pile of failed excavations (dirt without gold) is a bad thing, but the opposite is actually true.

The larger the pile of tailings, the bigger the effort, and the greater the commitment and outcomes. 

Working on growth is like gold mining. You use all of your intelligence, gather data, and use technology to find the right focus. 

And then, you start digging. 

The most successful gold mines have the largest pile of worthless dirt.  No one will invest the kind of time that it takes to amass all of that without finding something.

The same thing applies to coaches, growth acceleration leaders, and consultants. 

They should be able to tell you about many of the things they've tried that didn't work, and why they settled on the one they now share.

Most growth leaders want to promote big success stories, but the real value is in the pile of tailings they've left behind.

In marketing and sales, just like gold mining, there is no way to reach success without trial and error. That is how great marketing and sales emerge - by creating a big pile of things that didn't work. 

Watch our Growth Masterclass to see how some of the biggest companies use this principle

Another valuable insight flows from these gold mine experiences.

A smart client recently asked me an important question as we started her project. 

She asked, "do you apply all of these principles to your own business?"

I answered that we use them consistently, and they inform our growth plans. I told her that we were "using them right now to develop something new."

The second thing about gold mining that informs how you choose growth support is looking for the presence of dust. 

If there is no current movement, no active exploration or ongoing effort, then you are dealing with a historical mine, not an active one. It may have been great in its time. 

If the biggest feature of the mine is the advertising about how great it is, then you know you're dealing with a tourist attraction, not a serious gold mine (or growth accelerator).

In our case, that comes up when we tell our clients that we are trying something new that we think might help them. 

No serious gold miner (or growth consultant) will stop improving the art and science of what they do. They know that the market will pass them by quickly if they do. And your growth process needs fresh approaches that are as close to the cutting edge as possible along with the evidence that it works.

If you're looking for growth help, then work with someone who has lots of experience with what didn't work, and someone who is actively improving on their process right now.  


realign with the buyer

Published by David Mills October 12, 2022
David Mills