Prospectors over-index against the rest of the population on “Being British” as an important part of their self-identity. They account for 36.8% of the population but are 41.2% of those espousing being British, and so index at 112. This is 14.0% of the British population.

Within this this Maslow Group there are no significant differences within genders or socio-economic groups. Only one age group (25-34) is over-indexed, at 137. The 25–34 year-old Prospectors make up 23.2% of all Prospectors and 23.6% of the Prospectors who “self- identify as British” (SIB).

No age group is significantly under-indexed, although the over 65s have a lower index of 78.

This type of profile indicates that an appeal to Britishness among Prospectors will attract all age groups but will have a greater penetration among the 25-34 age group.

The SIB Prospectors differ in many ways from the SIB Pioneers and SIB Settlers. The Prospectors don’t have the same level of pride in their country as the other two groups – SIB Pioneers rank NATIONAL PRIDE as the number 1 factor in their self-identity, The SIB Settlers rank it as number 5, while the SIB Prospectors only rank it as number 15.

The nature of their Britishness is less about what they can do for their country and more about what their country can do for them.

Their most over-indexed Attribute, and one that defines all Prospectors not just the SIBs is a good opening insight into the mind of these dynamic and enthusiastic people.

The Attribute is SHOWHOME:

I spend my time improving the appearance of my home. I enjoy keeping up with current trends in home decorating.

SHOWHOME is integral to the Prospector self-identity. Their home is a display of their success; the outer manifestation of their need for a) esteem of others, and b) self-esteem. They want to be noticed, and they want to be ready when they are noticed. Looking good to others is an important facet of almost everything they do.

Their home is a show-place full of things for others to admire; things to show how up to date they are, aware of trends that create the image of success.

Their tastes tend not to be as mainstream as their differentiation might suggest. They don’t need to impress everyone; they just need to impress those whose approval and admiration they seek.

Other research by CDSM has shown the preferred styles of decorating their home are, in rank order, ‘luxurious’, ‘romantic’, ‘exciting’ and ‘sophisticated’. They reject styles of decorating, in reverse rank order, ‘normal’, ‘traditional’, ‘functional’.

They are house-proud and see this as a part of being British; i.e., keeping up with the Jones’s.

This aspect of their values system provides the motivations for their viewing of the many varied TV programs on home renovations, home locating and buying that are primetime viewing.

These people measure themselves against other displays of success – the houses and homes on display in magazines, colour supplements, and electronic media of all sorts.

Being British and being ‘best’ are tied up the identity of the SIB Prospectors.

They know they can ‘buy the dream’ and will work hard to do just that. Brands that provide the means to increase the ‘likeability’ (‘enviability’) of their home will be welcomed. Financial institutions and credit facilities that enable them to purchase what, where and when they want will be embraced. Government policies and political Parties that facilitate the buying of their dream home will get their support. But block or change access to products, facilities or policies and they will feel personally affronted and will seek retribution against those who have stymied their dreams.

The new British Truss government policies in the mini budget of September 2022 will have a real and measurable negative impact on her Party’s support. (Editor’s note: At the time of editing, this is a proven fact and so-called Trussonomics is dead and ditched - and so is her Premiership!). Any claim by her Party to be the ‘best of British’ will not be seen as credible by the SIB Prospectors. Interest rates and mortgage interest rates in particular are not sterile and distant economic facts and figures – they are personal and emotional drivers of self -identity for these people.

The SIB Prospectors are the type of people the Conservative Party has traditionally appealed to for votes – but after 12 years of austerity and political and economic upheaval, the promises have fallen far short of delivery; and clarion calls for ‘growth, growth, growth’ for Britain will ring hollow in the ears of the most hard driving and status conscious among all people in Britain.

In the SIB Prospectors’ Britain – a place where their dreams can come true – their dreams need to come true before a politician’s or economist’s policies or strategies can be taken as true. They believe that they make Britain – not that Britain makes them.

They are highly motivated to succeed, hardworking and status conscious.

This is measured by the second most over-indexed Attribute, ASPIRATION:

To me, achieving a better position in life is worth a lot of effort. At work, titles and grades are important to show how well I'm doing compared to others.

This is not just about ‘hard working families getting up at the crack of dawn and having low taxes to keep their hard-earned money in their pockets’, something the governments of the last 12 years have banally and repeatedly promised – hoping to get the vote of the SIB Prospectors.

The promises made align with their values – but as the nature of ‘work’ changes, the correlation between ‘a lot of effort’ and ‘achieving a better position in life’ changes and not always in ways that satisfy SIB Prospectors. Between the reduction in full time employment and the rise of zero-hours contracts, plus the effects of Covid changing the dynamics of offices, it is much more difficult to demonstrate that hard work alone brings rewards in their terms - of showing their importance to others and to themselves.

Being British is related to being industrious in the minds of these SIBs. These are the ‘get up and go’ people so beloved of certain sections of the media and political mythmakers. Government social policies designed to establish effort-reward systems to satisfy Prospector SIBS rarely succeed in that objective, because it is far easier to ‘promise’ than to ‘deliver’.

That being said, companies and organizations have been much more efficient in creating reward systems based on hard and/or cutting-edge work – stuff that takes a lot of effort to do.

Prospector SIBs are people who will start at entry level positions that may not seem to have much potential for advancement – typical in a lot of zero-hours contracts.But they will either be taking second jobs outside their current skill sets (‘side hustles’ that improve chances of future employability) or take evening/part-time courses to create new skill sets or build on their current core skill set. This way of making dreams come true through ‘a lot of effort’ is core to their identity;and, by extension, their British identity as hard working, industrious and creative with a ‘never say never attitude’ – the Bulldog Spirit.

This positive aspect to their self-identity can be perversely twisted by skilled manipulators and disinformation specialists to get them to label anyone ‘less hardworking’ as less ‘British’ than themselves - or the house-of-mirrors reflection that people who are not British are lazy or unemployable (foreigners, immigrants, etc.)

Honourable intentions, bad outcomes.

Within the work environment hierarchical control architectures that satisfy the needs of the SIB Prospectors, and Prospectors in general, have been highly successful in creating more efficient and effective organizations.

But unanticipated consequences can lead to values-driven biases, that can create an impression in SIB Prospector minds, that those whose grades or title are ‘below’ them are not as good as they are. A common subliminal bias among SIB Prospectors is that such people haven’t expended the same amount of effort as they have; and are, therefore, undeserving of the right to opine about ‘the way we do things around here’.

This type of bias is at the root of many dysfunctional organizational disputes. Because they are generated by values-systems and are manifested as emotions, it is often very hard to establish a rational framework for generating solutions. This failure to understand values-systems is the reason for the failure of many reorganizations based on consultant-driven peddling of resolutions that worked in other companies with different sets of values and emotional biases.

Good intentions, bad results.

Biases are real, but many of them are below the level of consciousness and difficult to acknowledge and manage. Expending a lot of effort to get ahead in life – often measured by grades and titles at work – is laudable in British culture. But the orientation can be distorted and create problems that appear localized but are, in fact, systemic and buried within values-systems.

There is a need for vigilance among the SIB Prospectors – to insure their positive and aspirational Attributes don’t accidently shade into unanticipated consequences.

Another closely related Attribute in the SIB Prospector values system reinforces this need for awareness - VISIBILE ABILITY:

It is important for me to show my abilities. I want others to admire what I do.

On the positive side of this, they want to show their abilities to others.

For the Prospector SIB, titles and grades are ways of demonstrating ability; and the higher they go up a hierarchy the more they feel good about themselves. It is likely that they will ascribe their rise within any hierarchy as being a result of their own hard work and willingness to take on high-visibility tasks. They recognize they may be risking public failure; but also believe that public success brings them the admiration of others. This need for admiration of others is at the heart of the motivation, i.e., they gain the esteem of others, and it contributes to their own self esteem.

The SIB Prospector is willing to give a lot of effort to better themselves, but they also need to be recognized in a manner that others can admire.

Sports fandom provides an insight into this view of the world and a model of the type of emotion the SIB Prospector fan wants to feel. They are the sports fans whose emotions are tied intimately with the team or athlete they identify with – models for expending a lot of effort to get the title, medal, ribbon, etc. which is publicly recognized as success – someone to be admired. The high emotions generated when British teams are in competitions can seem irrational to many, “it’s just a game”, but SIB Prospectors know it, in the words of the great Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, “[Football] isn’t a game of life or death; it's more important than that!”

This makes sense to the competitive SIB Prospectors. They identify with the players showing off their abilities as a method of gaining admiration. They acknowledge that any competition is risky, but it is important to be ‘in the game’. The phrase, “you’ve got to be in it to win it” is a good expression of this approach to life.

But losing can be devastating – a form of ego death.

The dark side can occur when their role within a grade or title extends them beyond their abilities and they risk failure in the eyes of others.

In management this is known as the Peter Principle. This is based on organizational dynamics observed in the 1950’s that many middle managers and even senior managers people ceased to be as effective as they were earlier in their careers. The insight particularly referred to ‘highflyers’ or ‘fast track’ people who would take on difficult and visibly risky assignments and breeze through them – loving the stage on which they could show their abilities and be lauded for their success, mainly through promotion to the next level of the organizational hierarchy. Sounds like ‘successful’ SIB Prospectors.

But the unanticipated consequence that regularly occurred after the success was a failure to continue to shine; a career stagnation and even humiliation as the manager, or director, had been ‘promoted to the level of their own incompetence’.

This is one of the reasons that organizations need to aware of individual values-systems, and be aware that the best performers at one stage of development may not be the best choices to rise to the next level, even if an individual wants the challenge.

Great management – and good friends and family – are part of the web of meaning that creates happiness in the SIB Prospector. Good relationships grow with the success of these people. But good relationships have a mutuality that can help these people to acknowledge their limits before they get into a position to fail.

Great coaches ensure their athletes do not have the opportunity to rise to the level of their own incompetence; matching their abilities to others at a similar or slightly higher level; giving the athlete a chance to shine if they win and learn from the experience if they lose; i.e., they can be admired for their efforts no matter what happens. Learning to win is a virtue, but great coaches know that the desire of the athlete to excel and be admired is merely a step in ‘building character’. Putting in the effort to win and being admired for it is only a step in enabling the athlete to move beyond needing the approval of others to gain their sense of self.

Failure for some people is just another ‘learning experience’ but with the espousers of VISIBLE ABILITY, failure can be intensely personal and the root cause of anxiety, self-doubt and other forms of neurosis.

To some, failure is a learning experience; while, to our SIB Prospectors, failure is a loss to their self-identity – a much bigger consequence than they may see, until it hits them.

The SIB Prospectors are heavily invested in working hard to gain success – a success that is measured in how much they are admired. But it also true that they may not have found an arena in which they can excel and be recognized and rewarded. Their competitive nature can make the world seem like a never-ending competition; a dog fight in which only the Big Dog gets rewarded; a zero- sum game. Life can be tough when you’re not the Big Dog.

But there are other ways to gain the feeling of being the Big Dog. The SIB Prospectors will find a way to get the acknowledgement they need, through the Attribute LOOKING GOOD:

It is important to me to spend time and effort caring for my appearance. I always check how I look before I leave home.

Most people make some effort to present themselves in a way they feel makes them look good. Some people even present themselves in ways that deliberately provoke reactions that aren’t universally recognized as positive. The common thread between these, apparently different, motivations is the time and effort spent to achieve the reaction of others.

As we’ve seen, the SIB Prospectors care a lot about how other people think about them. At times there may be a subset among them that decided they only want to be admired by a small, well defined peer or aspirational group, and don’t care that others, outside the group, don’t recognize them or even reject the appearance they have chosen to project.

But, for the most part, they want to look good in all situations; to the greatest number of potential admirers.

They will be fashion conscious; adapting their look to suit the latest fashion trends that are most likely to be admired by those from whom they are seeking approval. This usually enables them to fit in and, potentially, to stand out.

Their need for approval of others can lead them to adopt some fashions that really don’t suit their body shape or generational profile – the dad, or older female, pretending to be younger than they really are; ‘getting down with the yoof’. Or the younger people adopting a set of mannerisms and styles of dress that clash with their age. One of the most dominant normalized behaviours of the SIB Prospector older males is wearing the shirt of their favourite sports team or player – the number worn by a whippet-lean young man being worn by a corpulent middle-aged man. This is exhibited ,to the max, in competitions where British teams compete with other nations.

The SIB Prospector’s social antennae usually sense when behaviours useful in one group will be recognized as inappropriate in other groups, because they are so sensitive to disapproval. In any case, they have put in the effort to gain approval.

This approach to life makes them very sensitive to the world around them – but in a limited rather than universal way. It is focused on making good impressions - more physical than intellectual - within a limited time scale; an immediacy that makes them feel good when others comment on their appearance.

They have an inner confidence that they can achieve the recognition and approval that allows them stand out in a group, even after they have failed at earlier attempts to be admired.

There is a folksy saying the ‘you never get a second chance at a first impression’, often taught when mothers are preparing their children for school and they need them to brush their hair or tuck their shirts in or stop scuffing their new shoes. The SIB Prospectors are likely to disagree with the sentiment and be more likely to say, “There is always a chance to make a first impression the second, third, or fourth time you try”. Remaking themselves is about impression management and gaining the esteem of others.

This chameleon like approach to looking good in their day-to-day life can be expensive in the pursuit of social recognition, which contributes to their next Attribute - OVERSPEND:

I often come out of a shop having spent more than I intended. If I won £100,000 I'd spend, spend, spend!

The first part of this points to an awareness that they are probably not that good at sticking to a budget. They are the type of people who will scrimp on groceries but go over-budget for the latest fashion accessory, or for clothing that will be seasonal rather than something functional but unfashionable. In other CDSM research the Prospectors, as a whole, tell us that the two most important choices when thinking about how they buy clothes are designer labels and the choice of accessories. Compared to other groups, they are least likely to buy clothes that are, specifically, ‘functional’ or ‘comfortable’.

Looks matter, even it is uncomfortable. These people most likely to come out of a shop with purchases that excited them in the moment; but they soon experience buyer’s remorse if they don’t get the admiration they desire. Shops know about this behaviour, when goods bought on Friday or Saturday are returned on Monday. (Note that these are most often ‘used’ by the time they are returned – but that might often be overlooked when it comes to resale of the product).

Marks and Spencer's ‘returns’ policy has helped their brand image over the years as they accommodate even the few that take advantage of the policy. Among the biggest successes on the high street in recent years is Primark, which enables people to try many different images on a limited budget – a real help to the SIB Prospector.

But that doesn’t stop them spending their money or extending their credit in the pursuit of social recognition. Their vibrancy and immediacy drive them to spend to whatever level they can afford – and beyond that at times. Winning the lottery or gaining an inheritance that results in a sumbeyond their current income is not likely to go into a ‘rainy day’ bank account or be invested in a tax-efficient pension fund. They will continue to buy the dream of recognition by others and just spend more extravagantly.

Some pundits claim that this is a form of unfettered materialism and sneer at it. Their judgements fail to take in the emotional impact on SIB Prospector if they were unable to behave in this way. Their drive for esteem of others leads them to work hard at everything they do; to be dynamic in their interactions with others and often to be the engine of the economy – spending to the max and needing to buy even more.

Given this profile, it may come as a surprise that their 6th most over-indexed Attribute is RELIGIOUS:

Religious belief is very important to me. I try hard to do what my religion requires.

Deeper analysis of this – Prospectors espousing RELIGIOUS – reveals there are multiple elements that combine to create an over-indexing among the SIB Prospector.

Not all SIB Prospectors will be RELIGIOUS espousers, but those who are will see the expression of their religious beliefs as an opportunity for a social occasion; a place to display their faith to others – another way of seeking esteem. Rather than strictly adhering to the tenets of their religion, they are more likely to pick and choose parts of the teachings to burnish their own image. Portraying the ‘right image’ is so important to them in all avenues of their life – their observance of religious practices is no different.

Their SIB orientation is likely to have them lean to the Church of England or the Church of Scotland – the religions in the UK that have national connotations. The RELIGIOUS espousers don’t necessarily belong to mainstream Protestant religions though. Other denominations and religions – Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, etc., will also be observed by SIB Prospectors. But the motivations for the observance of the practices of the religion will be the same.

There is another dynamic that is inherent in the SIB Prospector motivation for practicing a religion:

  • a need to control others,
  • a patriarchal orientation,
  • with an underlying thread of approval of social disorder.

A potent mixture that seems at odds with the profile of the image and status conscious, hardworking gadfly who attaches themselves to fads and fashions in attempts to create a better life for themselves and their families. But it does help to explain some of the inherent dark-side aspects.

Religions are based on a set of rules or doctrines that control the behaviour of their adherents. The Prospectors search for stability in an ever-changing world can lead them to accept the rules – gain esteem of others in the observance of the doctrine – and believe that others ‘ought to’ do the same. Their version of ‘control of others’ is an attempt to get others to take the same path as they have – a form of altruism.

But this altruism has a sting in the tail. They countenance a forceful version of altruism that can be recognized as a form of what is called today ‘sexism’. This is a form of thought that was fully accepted at one time – that men are superior to women – and today is out of step with mainstream society. This subset of SIB Prospectors, by espousing RELIGIOUS, want more certainty in their lives and have fallen back on stereotypes that seem to promise some certainty in their uncertain world.

Finally, and paradoxically, their desire for certainty – through rules and rituals designed to create stability – can also lead to an inclination and support for civil instability; the outlet for the dissonance and disappointment that can lead to resentment and a resigned acceptance that ‘bad things can happen to good people’. If it all ‘kicks off’ they will support the call for change to the existing order; which is not providing the stability they seek.

The last of Top 7 Attributes most over-indexed by SIB Prospectors is the one that drives them to feel that there is something beyond the drama (and glamour) of their desired and actual lives – that some of things they most admire in others seem a mystery to them. This when much of their lives seem outwardly successful (gaining esteem), comfortable with themselves (self-esteem) but realize they want to feel a part of something with a higher purpose.


I am looking for something that makes my life meaningful. I am always looking to find my life's purpose.

The SIB Prospector is 31% more likely than the rest of the British population to espouse this approach to their lives.

One the basic orientations among Prospectors is that they are able to remain optimistic in many adverse circumstances. They are experienced in standing back from some immediately discomforting emotions and viewing their life as a ‘game to be played’; acknowledging both their triumphs and failures as just episodes in the drama of their life.

Many others will admire their behaviours and view them as optimistic friends, neighbours or leaders – but the Prospector SIBs feel a need to keep looking to find THEIR purpose – something personal to themselves, not just part others’ purposes.

Their ‘go for it’ values system leads them to search many forms of thought and behaviour that will take them out of their current comfort zone – hopefully to find a more expansive form of self -identity. They will be open to new ideas and ways of living. This search is likely to contain a high degree of attraction to socially acceptable but niche behaviours – often having an ‘elitist image’.

SEARCHING is an active process and provides the stimulus for many new ideas, generated by other values sets, to be adopted by the SIB Prospectors and actualized to satisfy their values.

Giving money away is not a natural behaviour for Prospectors – they want to accumulate to increase wealth and status; or they want to spend on things that others will admire. Giving it away – philanthropy – wouldn’t seem to gain much traction among these people.


As part of the SEARCHING, they will explore ways to differentiate themselves from ‘the herd’ – to create their own ‘Brand ME’. They might find this an option that gives them the recognition they need. But the nature of behaviour and recognition can come as a surprise to them.

In gratifying the need for recognition, the reward for satisfying it is that they are perceived by others, and eventually themselves, as a very different from who they really are currently. But until this happens they will continue to search for a purpose in life that transcends their current state of being. It is this Prospector search that can lead to the discovery of a purpose in their life.

The SIB Prospector is likely to be attracted to purposes that contain elements of their British identity. For example, supporting the conservation of British heritages – like forests, rivers and seashore environments. Military and historical organizations and sites will be positive targets for them. At the other end of the scale will be support for new British artists and businesses.

Actively engaging, with money and time, is integral to the development of ‘purpose’. Like all Prospectors, they will have big visions (relative to their resources) for their chosen purpose – which makes this a very important driver of social change – from active local participants to multi-millionaires.

It is likely that the grand country houses and magnificent building in the city centres up and down the length of the UK were created by SIB Prospectors – burnishing their images initially - but becoming ‘philanthropists’, spending their money ‘purposefully’ beyond their immediate gratification.

SEARCHING is not confined to the UK. Today’s great fortunes have been created, and innovations developed, within cultures being driven by this same dynamic. Bezos, Gates, Musk, Jobs, Branson, etc., all built their businesses to satisfy their needs for esteem in all forms - but all were driven ultimately to create options beyond satisfying immediate needs. Their search for meaning can change the world; and it has for the rest of us.

Summary: The SIB Prospectors' values-system embodies many of the virtues that are recognized and rewarded in UK society. They are not outliers; indeed, they are central to the way many people will regard as the best part of ‘being British’.

Hardworking; putting a lot of effort in what ever they do. They may not have found their purpose in life yet, but they will be energetic in searching for it.

The search will be driven by the need to create a public image that others will admire – within their own peer groups, for some; to gain great public honour, for others.

Whether they are accumulating or spending they will do it with the intention to make it ‘more’. Their optimism means that they will never feel they have enough.

They have a wild card in their values-system; the orientation to follow religious beliefs – a desire for certainty amidst the drives for change in the rest of their values-system. This can present them with paradoxical situations in which they want what is best for others but lean to more authoritarian means than many other religious people find comfortable – more ‘fire and brimstone’ than Kumbaya.