Planning & consultation stage

The planning and consultation stage of change management means developing and documenting the objectives to be achieved by the change and the process that will be undertaken to achieve them. This is a critical stage; it is important to take the time to ensure that the change initiative is carefully and appropriately planned, documented and approved in accordance with ANU frameworks.

Key steps

The key steps to the planning and consultation stage are outlined in the Change Management Framework (CMF) (refer to Reference documents). Once you decide to introduce change in your area, please contact the HR Division Organisational Change Branch for assistance and allocation of a staff member to assist you.

The planning stage involves:

  • assessing and communicating the need for change (the 'why')
  • setting a clear vision / strategy / objective (s) for the change (the current vs. future state); this will be used to measure success later in the process
  • clearly articulating that vision / objective / goal for the change (the 'why')
  • documenting the case for change
  • identifying those structures / processes / behaviours that will:
    • stop
    • start and 
    • continue in the new structure (this can be done through group discussion).
  • developing the change implementation plan (project plan) including a communication plan
  • allocating roles and responsibilities in the change process
  • considering how the change effectiveness will be measured and how it will be maintained/ reinforced /consolidated.

Communication & consultation

People will react differently to change and at a different pace; for some the change will be welcome and for others it can be a concern; it is important that their reactions (be they positive or negative) are recognised and addressed appropriately. Ongoing communication and consultation is therefore an important aspect of implementing any change process. Consider how employee productivity and motivation will be sustained through the period of uncertainty.

Tools & templates

Please see below for some templates and fact sheets that may be used and adapted for this stage of the process.

Deciding whether to proceed with the change

There are a range of tools and methodologies that can be used to determine if to proceed with a change initiative - a couple of examples are below:

SWOT Analysis
  • May be a useful exercise to conduct when deciding if to progress with a change initiative
  • Gives a picture of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities andThreats of internal and external environments (if appropriate).
SWOT analysis template 
Force Field Analysis 
  • A tool for determining if a proposal or decision is worthwhile
  • Assists in determining if the factors that are supportive of the proposal/decision are stronger than those that are resistant or opposed to.
Force Field analysis template

Other templates and fact sheets

The change management proposal
  • At ANU a change proposal must be created for any formal change (as defined in The Australian National University Enterprise Agreement). It will form the basis of the formal consultation process as well as being distributed to external parties
  • The proposal should explain the rationale for the change (why the change is needed) and should be evidenced based; for example there could be a link to workforce planning.

Change management proposal template 

Project plan
  • Used for planning, 'mapping out' and then implementing a change project.
  • Should include all steps from initial planning through to reinforcement ('business as usual').
  • Allow for flexibility; change is an evolving process so the goals and timelines may need to be adapted / reviewed over the duration of the process.
  • Incorporate / consider some limiting factors; foreseeable challenges and /or steps that may have to be over come (these may have come out of the SWOT analysis).
  • Consider any staff training that may be needed for skills development (eg to prepare managers to support change).
Change management project plan template
Communication & consultation plan
  • Communication and consultation are key components of a change process
  • It is important to ensure that all those who may be affected by the change are informed and, where possible, included in decision making
  • The development of a communication and consultation strategy is recommended; it can be built in to the project plan or developed separately
  • The purpose is to map out a plan for who needs to know what, when and how
  • The structure will depend on the change situation but it should be a live process and reviewed regularly
  • An initial consultation phase may be included before the creation of a formal change proposal; this means gathering facts and evidence through a range of mechanisms such as discussion groups or collecting feedback; this data will inform the change process.
Communication matrix template 
Communication strategies - hints & tips
  • The communication method which is used should be selected according to the message, its urgency and the intended audience of the messages
  • The attached fact sheet provides some hints and tips for choosing an appropriate communication approach for your messages.
Roles & responsibilities
  • It is important to allocate clear responsibility for tasks; the fact sheet below lists the key roles and responsibilities in a change process.
Financial considerations
  • If you need assistance with preparing a budget for the change or with documenting the possible financial aspects of the change then please speak to your local finance contact.
  • It is important to keep a comprehensive record of any change process to provide information on the decision making and consultation process as well as the final outcome; some proforma templates are attached.


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