‘By 2023 Aston University will have an international reputation for the delivery of outstanding graduate outcomes and equipping business and the communities with the skills for the future.’

The challenges we face to achieve this ambitious vision are great, this means as a University we need to remain fluid, constantly change and improve to meet the increasing needs of our beneficiary groups. 

Making change in one part of the University invariably has knock on effects to others. Consequently, implementing change often feels messy and uncertain for those involved. The Change Wheel has been developed to support you with these challenges. 

Aston Change Wheel


Working with you to deliver the benefits of your change 

We can support you to determine the why, the what and the how you need to change and where you should involve your people at each stage to enable a smooth change process that strengthens your services and helps to retain key staff, skills and knowledge.

The Change Approach is there to help identify, design, implement and review change process, whilst supporting your people along the way.

To illustrate we can help you develop and articulate the key messages and benefits of your change and support you in developing a stakeholder and communication plan communicating the reasons and benefits for change.  

Working in a Changing World

Change management has often been viewed as a step-by-step process of unlearning old ways of doing things, developing new ways and then embedding new ways of working. In other words change was seen as a one-off event with a distinct start and end point.

As demonstrated in the video In the current working world, changes often happen in quick succession or simultaneously. The rate and pace of change means that change now needs to be approached as a continuous cycle.

Making change in one part of the University invariably has knock-on effects in other parts, these cannot always be fully anticipated, also it may only be possible to see the operational requirements of a desired change while it is being put into practice. For these reasons, it is necessary to review and adjust plans regularly.

The People Factor

The ‘People Factor’ is critical to successful change.

Most changes demand that individuals do things differently. Therefore, it is vital to secure their support and commitment for a change to be adopted.

As leaders of the University we are tasked with developing and implementing change and improvements and we are also individuals working in a changing world. We are, therefore, faced with a dual challenge. Not only must we take actions to help others to understand and respond positively to change, but we also have to manage our own reactions and address our own needs.

The key to success lies in understanding the way in which we respond to change. 

By using this approach that takes into account of our own and others' reactions and needs, it is possible to lead and manage change with confidence, even when the way ahead is not clearly mapped out and the environment is new.

Planning Change

The basis for any change activity is the need for planning. Just as we plan for the technical aspects, usually using a **project management methodology, we must also plan for the ’ people aspects’. This will help you anticipate what is likely to happen and to ascertain what is expected from you and your team as you go through the change activity.

The Aston Change Approach incorporates all of these thoughts and elements and you will find that it does not work as a step-by-step process, you will need to be working on more than one component of the cycle at any one time to ensure the success of the change. 

**Aston University has developed its own project management framework and the purpose of the framework is to enable staff to differenciate between a project and business as usual. Projects are identified as being:

  • Temporary in nature 
  • They are unique rather than routine 
  • Their scope usually extends beyond the university's functinal/departmental boundaries

For more information visit the Project Management Office page. 

Aston Change Approach

To support you to embark on change activity, the Aston Change Wheel has been developed. Using the approach, tools and best practice shared, will support you in delivering successful change initiatives.  

Applying the Aston change approach

Step 1: Change is just for change sake. 
It is important before we start a change, to fully understand the problem we are trying to fix, or the reasons why the change is required. Don't just accept something sounds like a good idea, explore the reasoning behind the decisions and any data or evidence that exists and then complete your business case.

                             1.0  Business Case for change 

                             1.1  Assessing the environment

                             1.2  Problem Solving

                             1.7  The Problem Tree


Step 2: Bring together a group of like-minded and willing people to drive the change through.
Share the business case and your stories of how we can make improvements and start to bring together the people who can support you to deliver those key messages.

Mind the Gap (Just because somebody is born a certain year, doesn't mean that they will behave as the generation suggests. The quiz is there to help you and your teams identify your preferred generation of working style)

                                 2.1 Quiz Questions

                                 2.2 Quiz Answers   

                                 2.3 Overview of generations

                                 2.4 Mind the Gap reference document 


Step 3: Build a vision and values that brings the Aston University vision and values alive.
Check what you are trying to do aligns to the organisations vision and strategy to create a shared purpose.

                                  3.1 Video Creating a shared purpose 

                                  3.2 View the Aston Strategy 

                                  3.3 My Performance and Development Conversation behaviours


Step 4: Communicate and Engage.
Kotter emphasises the need to communicate 10 times the amount you expect. Communicate in a variety of ways. Remember to include the key messages, the reasons why and the difference we expect the change to make.

                                  4.1 Managing Stakeholders 

                                  4.2 Communicating to Engage 

                                  4.3 Engaging the Organisation in Change 

                                  4.4 Communications plan

                                  4.5 Project Initiation Document

                                  4.6 Project Brief


Step 5: People's reaction to change is not positive.
At the stage, it is important to keep reinforcing the purpose and the benefits the change can bring. Understanding the change curve can help you to plan how to overcome any resistance to change.

                                5.0 30 second speech

                                5.1 Change Curve 

                                5.2 Managing the human side of change 


Step 6: Plan for your outcomes and benefits. 
Think creatively and identify resources. Resources are often an issue for delivering change. Planning ahead using a project plan and creating a timeline of outputs and events can help you to identify peak times during the change cycle.

                                 6.0 Project plan 

                                 6.1 Risk register

                                 6.2 Activity Plan


Step 7: Consolidate and promote.
Shout about the success and quick wins through as many channels as possible. Evaluate what has been achieved so far and what more we can do to improve.

                                   7.0 Win, Learn, Change

                                   7.1 Highlight report


Step 8: Ensure the change becomes 'Business as Usual'.
Build priorities into My Development Conversation meetings and events to embed the new ways of working and ensure the benefits are realised. 

                                    8.0  Closure report

For Further Support:

New events and developments coming soon.
For further details, please contact Organisational Development via email.