If more time is being given to external consultants than internal ideas, it might be.

You know what I’m talking about.

It’s that time when you end up sitting in a room with 6 of your colleagues listening to one person speak. He may be in a suit, or he may be in jeans, but he’s definitely got some slick PowerPoint slides and in the space of 30 minutes he’s told you everything he knows, including:

  • All the problems your industry faces today
  • Exactly what solution your business needs
  • That they have the insights on what your customer wants
  • Why you’re at risk of disruption if you don’t change the way you do things

He’s also costing your business thousands of dollars a day to tell you what you and 6 other people in that room already knew.

Welcome to the Smooth Talking Drone – the corporate STD.

Usually an agent of an independent consulting firm, the corporate STD is there selling you a dream – a vision of what your company might be if you take their advice.

You’ve been here before too – maybe more than once. The previous corporate STDs had different logos on their business cards but they sold a slightly different variation of the same message.

You’re rolling your eyes as they speak because you’re aware of a few things:

  1. They know all the problems your industry faces, but they haven’t taken the time to explore your business and its problems
  2. They know the solutions your business needs, but they don’t understand your current technology environment, or how their solution might even integrate. 
  3. They have the insights on what your customer needs, but they haven’t actually spoken to any of your customers yet
  4. They keep saying you’re at risk of disruption, but right now any number of their colleagues are off saying the same things to your competition.

It doesn’t matter how slick their message is, the corporate STD has been sent in with one goal – to return value to their shareholders by getting your company to sign up to a solution. They’ll dig a little bit into your business and customers later, but right now they are trying to make the sale.

And they’ll say whatever it takes to do it.

So how do you treat a corporate STD?

Question everything they say. You have the knowledge they haven’t yet acquired. You have the experience in your business. Most importantly, you know what your customer needs.

Use that to your advantage.

But don’t fight them.

If you fight them you might win. You might also lose.

You see, the corporate STD isn’t a bad person. They are trying to help your business – the more successful you are, the more successful they are. But push too hard and you might find yourself out of favour.

If you ask them open questions that are specific to your organisation then one of two things will happen:

  1. You will eventually reach a point of value. The pitch they’re doing changes from generic to specific. The solution they are pitching evolves to become fit for purpose and solves your business problems
  2. Or their presentation ends and you never hear from them again. But your business is prepared to explore your ideas further.

Either way, you definitely won’t lose.


Five ways TIMWOOD identifies where your organisation wastes time, money, and talent.

Last year, New Zealand’s Productivity Commission revealed our country’s productivity is “among [the] worst in [the] OECD”. As outlined in ou…

Learn More / >


Fire on all three cylinders

If you watch Dragon’s Den, you’ll know how much the dragons harp on about healthy profits, revenue, and margins. They don’t do this to trap…

Learn More / >


Managing Risk in Digital Transformation.

For anyone who knows Target State, you’ll know that we talk about digital transformation a lot. This is because it’s a essential ingredient…

Learn More / >


"One of Ant's strengths is relating to owners in a visionary sense and talking to people who are on the ground...[Ant has a] wide understanding of different systems, processes and applications and can articulate where we're going and what the possibilities are...working with Ant has changed the way we make decisions about IT structures and support systems."

Felicity Hopkins, Director - Research Review

We hired Ant to support us with an important project after he was highly recommended by colleagues. Ant was responsive, speedy, super-helpful and helped us to make key decisions. We appreciated his broad experience, and his ability to hold a high level strategic view alongside expert advice on details. We will definitely be consulting with Ant again and are happy to recommend him.

Gaynor Parkin, CEO at Umbrella Wellbring

"We don’t need a full-time CTO [chief technology officer]. Ant knows enough about our business he can deliver it virtually. He can translate things for us. During project management, Ant came into his own... Ant gets his head round your business and [took his time] understanding our context. He was really clear about pausing on investment into the app...Ant's inquisitive, curious and approachable - he's very easy to work with."

Gus McIntosh, Chief Executive - Winsborough

"Ant was really quick to understand the business model and our processes and IT structures."

James Armstrong, Director - MediData

"Ant helped us at the early stages of Aerotruth helping us to plan our technical infrastructure and ensure we built a product that would scale. Ant was great to work with and we really valued his support and contribution to Aerotruth"

Bryce Currie, Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer - Aerotruth

"No question has ever been too silly. Ant's been accommodating and helped me understand. I've valued that he understands the charitable sector really well. He can look through the experience that he has with larger organisations and what's the reality for a small and mighty charity where you don't have teams of people that can come in and project manage an IT project"

Nicola Keen-Biggelar, Chief Executive Drowning Prevention Auckland

"Having Anthony was really valuable – to lean in on his skillset – and his connections. He was able to provide impartial advice about the different strengths [of the providers]. It was important that we undertook a good due diligence process. Having Anthony there meant we had impartial selection as well, which is very important to us and [something] other not-for-profits [could benefit from]."

Rose Hiha-Agnew, Program Director - Community Governance