The Change Ninja Handbook
An interactive adventure for leading change
Dr. Tammy Watchorn
** Business Book Awards 2023 Finalist **
“An essential guide for any professional interested in understanding how to implement and influence change”
Prof. Adam Boddison, – Chief Executive, Association for Project Management
Leading change in organizations is always hard, but this original, game-based handbook will at least make it much more fun! Based on real-life case studies and reflecting the most common challenges facing any change ninja, this is a story where you get to make the decisions at each stage, and discover the impact of your choices.**
This interactive approach will appeal particularly to non-linear thinkers and those who learn best through action and application. It’s pragmatic, focusing on tips for getting people on board and on identifying small, doable ‘ninja moves’ that gain traction and build momentum by stealth.
After lots of training in things like project management, agile change and leadership, Dr Tammy Watchorn discovered none of this really helped as the focus was always on process rather than people. By understanding how people work instead, she soon found she could deliver successful change by stealth with ninja moves.
An accessible guide to undertaking change..
I read this book in one day, it was a joy, I can’t recommend it highly enough. A primer for change managers novice or experienced alike.
Dr Tammy Watchorn is an absolute inspiration, such an engaging book, a must read for anyone…and I mean anyone, it really makes you think about change in a different way. We all fear change but not when you are a Change Ninja..Very much looking forward to the next volume
There are lots of books about the psychology of change management but this is a rare and engaging way of learning the consequences of one’s own decisions on how to manage change, and that means we are learning and adapting as we progress this fun and interactive adventure.
This is the type of book you keep by your side and revisit regularly. I think each time you read it you’d learn more about yourself and change.
…a great practical tool with real life scenarios that help me to understand change resistance, behaviours and responses – and plan my next move to address that hard-to-crack area of culture change within a transformation programme.
This book on change has such a unique voice and concept. The choose your own adventure style keeps what could be another drab entry in the change management pantheon… fresh and easy to connect with. It feels practical and helpful in the way other books in this category need translation.
Immersive, un-put-downable, hilarious, packed with learning and tools…
Buy this book, read it, have fun, put the learning into practice, make a difference!
This book is a must read for people who actually want to lead organisations to a better place for clients, their teams and the wellbeing of the organisations they run… I loved this book and will share it with all my colleagues because it is emotionally intelligent and has humour going through it like Brighton through rock. More than that it presents really interesting ways of discussing what innovation is… [Tammy’s] art is the art of refining the question that needs to be asked to define the problem that needs solving.
Sir Tim Smit – Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project
When the world around you is constantly shifting then the old ways of planning and acting aren’t nimble enough to keep your balance and keep moving forward, then a new mindset is needed that is about critical decision making and predicting the consequential impact of those decisions. Dr. Tammy Watchorn captures that need in this insightful, funny, thought-provoking and engaging book. She combines the latest thinking in change management to respond to the evolving environment in which we deliver change, and she does it in a way that harks back to the adventure books from childhood that allow you to choose your path and learn from your decisions. If all learning was this enjoyable, we would all spend much more time invested in it.
Jo Stanford – Head of Project Profession NHS
I really like the engaging and immersive nature of the book told in a novel style. I felt like I was on the journey every step of the way… and the quiz was a great way to summarise a kind of ‘playbook’ and I will return to use it.
Rob Cole – project and programme change specialist – Three UK
Thank you for writing this book! Change Rebel is relatable on so many levels, an easy and entertaining read. It brings to life characters we all know from experience and takes a helpful and practical approach to effecting change. I was inspired by the writer’s courage to do things differently and to share their experiences to help others. It certainly helped me.
Shara Seeyave – Executive Director | Human Resources | MSCI
The Change Ninja. What can I say… amazing. Not only did I learn how to manage change more effectively, I also laughed out loud… this book is so funny and informative.
Annmarie Sanderson – Programme Manager NHS
Finally, a chance to try out those tricky decisions before you have to make them at work in real life! An absolute joy to read whilst picking up actual, tangible tools to lead change.
Molly Thomas – Programme Office NHS Health Education England
When I was a kid I loved books like this, if you made the right choices you could thwart the wicked wizard or slay the awful dragon. Now with this cunning , entertaining and brilliant book . You can slay the toughest dragon of our working life , the dragon called change. Loved it
Geoff Burch – Business Guru, Bestselling author , TV presenter and Award winning Communicator
The Change Ninja Handbook provides a set of engaging and accessible insights into the into the world of change leadership. Written in the style of a role-play adventure game, Tammy skilfully gives the reader permission to navigate their own course through the various change challenges that are posed. This handbook is an essential guide for any professional interested in understanding how to implement and influence change. From stakeholder engagement and creativity to digital transformation and innovation, the Change Ninja Handbook will help to lead you to a solution.
Prof Adam Boddison, – Chief Executive, Association for Project Management – the chartered body for the project profession
A fantastically entertaining and amusing book on change management that almost never mentions management. Instead Tammy teaches us how to be Change Ninjas, who like their forebears in feudal Japan, use a variety of different tools and techniques in new and unusual ways to complete their missions and achieve their goals. Today’s change is no longer linear and requires us to be resourceful, versatile and unorthodox. Using a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style, this book is an inspired way of learning about change as you get to take risks, try things out, and improve your ninja skills of stealth and perseverance.
Paul Taylor – Innovation Service Design – Bromford
Original format, refreshing and relatable style, would leave any potential Change Ninja rushing out to try a new and inspiring approach – love it!
Sarah Bunting – Senior Programme Manager at London Stock Exchange Group
I loved the two realities presented at every step of the change journey in this book. Being able to consider what a poor response and a good response to a wide variety of common change challenges looks like really brings the challenges of change management to life. I highly recommend this book as an excellent read.
Melanie Franklin – Agile Change Management and APMG International
I loved this book – fast, funny and real world. Most organisations lie – they don’t actually want change – they only want the benefits of the change. This book shows you how to survive being a “change leader” in a world where governance, process and compliance seem to be against you. A practical, interactive and FUN book! Based on the teachings of Rockstar Project Guru Eddie Obeng, this book shows you how to swashbuckle your way to project success through the “corridors of gloom” while taking on the Blockers and the Mini Cheddars!
Stephen Carver – Senior Lecturer, consultant and speaker in Change and Crisis Management at Cranfield University School of Management
This book is a riot. A provocative W1A adventure through the theatre of ‘change management’ except this time you get to be the protagonist. Tammy Watchorn knows the pitfalls of dull frameworks and theories and so gives readers agency and the opposite experience of being trapped in a landlocked meeting. Guaranteed, this book will help you to understand why things never actually seem to change, and what you can do differently.
Alex Barker – Coach, Facilitator, Speaker & Author of How to be more pirate
This book is a technology for change, with just the right wicked sense of humour it needs to get past the dour gatekeepers of change management. A much-needed wry look at how to take work apart and make it better.
Sam Conniff – Book writing / Documentary making / Social Enterprise starting / Award winning / World-changing / Pirate. Author of Be More Pirate and How to be More Pirate
Table of Contents
Once upon a timeSetting the scene – provides the backdrop for the stories within the book and where the author started the journey. Describes the complexity and fog that is the adventure ahead
How to play
Instructions for playing the adventure game including rules and explanation of life lines and health scores.
Description of the fictitious characters the adventurer will meet on the journey. One of the main characters is Prof Eddie Obeng. He is not fictitious and much of his teaching is scattered throughout the book. Often referred to simply as the Prof
Challenge 1: Innovation Workshop
Game over: At any point in the book you can make a decision that lands you here. It might be the wrong decision or you might have just decided you’ve had enough and want a new job. You can choose to end your journey here, restart the game or reset the last ‘bad’ decision.
Sam’s Fables Part 1: The professor of changeSam’s fables is a book within a book. A handbook for the adventurer.
Sam’s Fable’s Part 2 Ship ahoy me hearties
Challenge 3: I didn’t sign up for this
Sam’s Fables part 3 Do your homework..
Challenge 4: Well that does look different
Sam’s Fables part 4 That will never work
Sam’s Fables part 5 Don’t we have a plan for that?
Sam’s Fables Part 6 The Wasp, the Volcano and the Sting
Challenge 7: Shall we do what we always do?
Sam’s Fables Part 7 What a difference a name makes
Challenge 8: Too Serious to Play
Sam’s Fables Part 8 Alien Invasion
Challenge 9 Part 2: Beating the Drum
Challenge 10: I think we should lead this collaboration,
Sam’s Fables Part 10 If it makes sense it’s probably sense making
Challenge 11: Hack to the future
Sam’s Fables part 11: Tool kit
A summary of the tools described in the book with a short description of how to use them and a template to use.
FORMAT / ISBN / PUBLICATION DATE / RRP
Paperback / 9781788603706 / August 23, 2022 / £14.99
Ebook / 9781788603720 / August 22, 2022 / £7.99
Paperback and eBook Bundle / £16.99
Dr. Tammy Watchorn
Dr Tammy Watchorn trained as a scientist before moving into the complex landscape of healthcare to lead change.
After some slow starts she began to realise that her hard-won accreditation in the process of change leadership was meaningless: the only way to achieve success was to focus on people. By understanding those involved in change as individuals, not ‘stakeholders’, she developed a pragmatic way of making progress by stealth using ‘ninja’ moves. Her own neuro-atypical approach allows her to see things differently, to look at the whole rather than the parts, and to help others to see things differently too. There’s no accreditation or one-size-fits-all process for Change Ninjas but there is now, at least, a handbook.
Tammy shares her stories and her approach to leading change widely on social media and in national media and industry publications. She’s also a regular keynote speaker at conferences.