Why we're doing this

    In the seminal book Good to Great, Jim Collins' discovered what separates great companies from everyone else.



    good to great



    People are not your most important asset, the right people are

    People who succeed in tech startups are very different to those you find at large enterprises.  That's because the work they do is fundamentally different. Startups are rapid growth, chaotic environments where every person is stretched to their fullest abilities.

    Jason Lemkin famously said that the first 50 employees in any startup should be pirates 🏴‍☠️ or romantics ❤️

    These are candidates for reasons that don't make sense live and breathe startups. They are the candidates who actively leave restrictive environments and, freed from shackles, step in as owners.

    In the old days, only weird people worked at startups. It was so quirky.

    As startups get significantly more glamour and press than mature companies, it's easy to think that a large number of the working population work in startups. That isn't true. In 2020, European tech start-ups employed 2 million people. This is 1% of the working population.

    Although it's easy to romanticize the huge amount of ownership and freedom that startups can provide their top talent we forget that ownership comes with total accountability and freedom comes with a total lack of rules. Uncertainty leads to anxiety and few people are cut out (or want) that kind of stress.

    Recruitment firms that are used to hiring for enterprise customers will not be able to hire well for growth startups. That's why you'll never find Berg Search working for Vodafone.



    Finding A-players for startups takes a specialist approach and over 70 hours of time investment,

    Berg Search is a talent-as-a-service partner whose sole aim is to find A-players for growth companies.

    For as little as £1,000 per month, you get access to an army of recruitment professionals each with a functional specialism. All trained in how to find A-players for startups

    Learn about our interview approach



    Every good-to-great company had leaders who embodied a paradoxical mix of personal humility and fierce professional will

    • They are ambitious towards the company and not towards themselves
    • They set up their successors for even greater success
    • They are modest, self-effacing and understated
    • They are fanatically driven, infected with a desire to produce sustained results.
    • They roll up their sleeves
    • They take the blame and give the praise to others


    The purpose of compensation is not to motivate the right behaviours from the wrong people but to get and keep the right people in the first place.

    Jim Collins expected that changes in incentive systems would be highly correlated with leaping from good to great.

    He thought that the amount and structure of compensation must play a key role in going from good to great. How else do you get people to do the right things that create great results?

    He was completely wrong

    They found no systematic pattern linking executive compensation to the process of going from good to great. 

    Why? It is simply a manifestation of the “first who” principle: It’s not how you compensate your executives, it’s which executives you have to compensate in the first place.

    If you have the right people on the bus, they will do everything within their power to build a great company, not because of what they will “get” for it, but because they simply cannot imagine settling for anything less.

    Their moral code requires building excellence for its own sake, and you’re no more likely to change that with a compensation package than you’re likely to affect whether they breathe. The good-to-great companies understood a simple truth: The right people will do the right things and deliver the best results they’re capable of, regardless of the incentive system. 

     Compensation and incentives are important but for very different reasons. The purpose of a compensation system should not be to get the right behaviors from the wrong people, but to get the right people on the bus in the first place, and to keep them there.



    Great companies make people's decisions rigorously, not ruthlessly

    • They don’t rely on lay-offs and restructuring projects as a primary strategy for improving performance. Although the annual churn rate was the same, the great companies churned consistently, as opposed to clumps
    • When in doubt, keep looking for the right person - don’t settle for good enough when it comes to your senior positions.
    • When you know in your gut that you need to make a people change, act - rarely does ‘a little more time’ change anything.
    • Before you let someone go, ensure that they are not just in the wrong seat.
    • Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems



    We exist to help you go from good to great.

    We want you to outperform your competitors, to generate outsized financial returns, and to build a culture of success. To do that, you need the right people.

    To find the right people, you need a recruitment strategy that specifically looks for those people.

    To do that, we'll  help you find the right people by using our unique approach built for startup hiring.

    We've already partnered with numerous growth firms including Metagravity, tem energy (see below), Trading Labs, Hozah and Feel Therapeutics.

    We'd be delighted to work with you