Change Management Guidance

The following information has been compiled to assist organisations implementing a change process. It uses a combination of elements from various theoretical change models including Kotter, Jick, and ADKAR and is provided for use as guidance.

Implementing change can be a challenging time for organisations. When looking to implement or change a system, program or process it is normal for our key focus to be on what’s being implemented. What we often forget to consider is the people. Employee resistance and lack of management support are the top two reasons for 70% of all change program failing to achieve their desired outcomes[1]. A lack of communication, resulting in surprise and a fear of the unknown is also why individuals resist change[2](Tanner, 2021).

Why change?

  • Are you clear on the need for change?
  • Are the organisation/department/individuals ready? Consider the needs of people, technology, processes & technology. This will help you identify any blockers or enablers.
  • Is the change planned/unplanned or expected/unexpected? This will impact how people perceive and receive the proposed changes and you will need to take this into account.
  • Start with the Why – why is this happening/being undertaken? Clearly understanding the why will help you communicate with others (i.e. board, staff, members etc) and gain their support as you progress.

Create a sense of urgency

  • Raise awareness for the need to change.
  • Make it clear why things need to change and why now is the right time.

Do people want to get involved?

  • Consider if there is the desire to participate and support the change from within your organisation.
  • Put together a working group of individuals.
  • Are top leaders on board? Their support and influence will be vital.
  • Line up support from key people who aren’t in leadership roles. Do they support the change?
  • Do you have some champions on board at all levels?

Create a shared vision, common direction and strategy

  • People need to know what they are working towards. Define the goal, what success looks like and how you might get there (high level).
  • Engage and consult stakeholders when developing the vision, direction and strategy.
  • Provide stakeholders with knowledge. Why is it happening? What they are aiming for and how will the change occur?

Separate from the past

  • How many times have you heard someone say “We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work, so it won’t work again”?
  • Acknowledge past experiences. That they may have been stressful experiences and unsuccessful.
  • Identify and explain to those involved why this change is different from previous experiences. How will this be better/successful? Then walk the talk – follow through on your details.

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

  • Communicate clearly, concisely and frequently through a range of mediums (i.e. conversations, meetings, emails, online forums or workshops).
  • Where there is a lack of information, others, especially sceptics will fill the information void.
  • Involve a range of different people in discussions and seek their input – they will think of things you haven’t!
  • Be honest with people. Trust is crucial to the change process and honest, open communication will help to build the much-needed relationships required to support the implementation of the change.
  • Mistakes will happen. Own them, be honest and transparent. Communicate how it will be addressed.

Do you/your organisation have the ability to implement your plan?

  • Develop a plan for how you will achieve things, who needs to be involved/consulted/advised.
  • Empower others to take the lead in their area, especially your change champions.
  • Identify what may prevent your change from being implemented. How can you remove these obstacles and allow people to do their job?
  • Do individuals have the required skills and behaviours to support the change? How can you support them?

Can you make the change sustainable?

  • Generate some short-term wins and celebrate first achievements, no matter how small. This will help to keep the ball rolling.
  • Reinforce the change by acknowledging what is working and how it’s becoming part of the “new way of doing things.”
  • As the wins begin to mount, celebrate how the larger change is achieving things and use this to encourage ongoing acceptance and future changes.
  • Continually take feedback on board to improve processes and adjust as needed.
  • Look for ways to build the changes into the “way we do things.

Stakeholders include all individuals/groups who are involved, impacted or interested in the change you are undertaking. To help you undertake your change, it’s beneficial to map your stakeholders and identify how and when to communicate with them. There are a range of different ways you can do this.

List all the stakeholders you can think of that are invested in the change. Consider Staff, Board, Volunteers, Members, Suppliers, Funding Bodies, Local Government etc.

Map them out using a matrix like Mendelo's Power v Interest[3]. This helps visualise where your focus should lay.

Now you have identified who your stakeholders are and their impact on your change, map them against a stakeholder pyramid such as the image below[4] to help clarify the best ways to keep them informed to benefit your change.

Change is hard. Up to 70% of all change initiatives fail to achieve their desired objectives, so it’s important to be aware of issues that may occur. It’s not that people don’t like change – we change things all the time – but initiatives will fail if any of the following elements are apparent or perceived, including:

  • Fear of losing their status or job in the organisation
  • Poorly aligned or non-reinforcing reward systems
  • Surprise and fear of the unknown
  • Peer pressure to resist
  • Feelings of mistrust amongst staff and managers
  • Organisational politics
  • Fear of failure
  • Flawed implementation plan including a lack of tact or poor timing[5]

Remember: Change isn’t about processes, it’s about people.

Information on this page can also be downloaded in a PDF format here.

Further Information:
P: +61 3 9698 8100

[1] Ewenstein, B, Smith, W & Sologar, A 2015, Changing change management, McKinsey & Company, viewed 14 August 2021.

[2] Tanner, R 2021, Organizational Change: 8 Reasons Why People Resist Change, Management is a Journey®, viewed 14 August 2021.




Government Partners

Preferred Suppliers