Lumen Impact Group
Lumen Impact Group

When the Load is Heavy and Hill is High: How to Use an Effective Change Process to Not Go It Alone 

Published: September 8, 2023

By Lisa Diaz, Lumen Impact Group, Founder 

Imagine I present you with two options:  

Option 1: Drag a full wagon of rocks up a steep hill on your own. 

Option 2: Same wagon full of rocks and same hill, but this time, you get a team of people to push from behind as you climb the steep hill.  

And now you’re probably thinking, “well this is a ridiculous exercise in imagining because obviously option 2,” right? 

While it may seem obvious that we’d all chose option 2, my guess is that we have all found ourselves feeling like the single-handed wagon puller in option 1 at some point or another when we’ve tried to initiate something new in our organization.   

So, in those instances, how did you end up struggling to drag your wagon alone? Where was the team to help push the heavy wagon up the hill when obviously you’d have rather had help?  Well, the answer often lies in how we as leaders initiated the change way down at the bottom of the hill. 

Often, the pressure to achieve results is a huge driver in change, and because time never seems to be on our side, we try to move quickly. The tricky thing with a quick start is that it can lead to a very long, and often much slower climb up that steep hill if you even make it up at all. If the goal is impact and impact quickly, we have to consider how we are going about leading the change that will get us there.  

At Lumen Impact Group, we like to use the concepts in the model of the Bottom-Line Change process to get to that impact.  

This change process starts with a vision story that, with vivid color, paints a picture of the future impact of the change. It incorporates feedback from stakeholders and the building of champions as you move through the change process. The real secret sauce of this process is listening, engaging, and empowering those who will be the key executors of the change—your team of wagon movers.  

A common counter argument we hear from leaders when it comes to implementing a collective change process is “but we don’t have time.” My challenge to that counter is this: Is impact about starting a new program/project? Or, is impact about the results that are achieved from that new program/project?   

To get to results, yes, you have to go a little slower at the start. And no, you will not have 100% buy-in when you kick-start the change. However, bringing others into your process will ensure that you’re not left alone and struggling to pull that wagon to the top of the hill, potentially abandoning it part way. 

So, next time you’re staring at a wagon full of rocks and a big hill, I want to encourage you to take a step back and… 

Listen– collect feedback from stakeholders and really listen to their thoughts on the initiative, and how it may move forward. 

Engage– bring others into the decision-making process and paint a vision of what success looks like together. 

Empower– build your team and let them own their part of getting the rocks up the hill. 

Not only will this kind of change process bring you the impact you are hoping for, but it will also continue to solidify your team culture.   


"Lisa did a fantastic job with our entire strategic planning team. Her process was beyond organized. As a new administrator, I was able to lean on Lisa for her expertise and knowledge of strategic planning. She did everything from meeting organization and to facilitating subgroups, focus groups and staff culture surveys. Her work with the school board and administrative team was respectful, while also filled with appropriate advice and constructive feedback. I could not imagine going through this process without Lisa. She will continue to be a trusted resource for years to come."
Jamie DeWitt
School Leader, NexTech High School
"Lumen Impact Group has been critical in supporting Bluum’s efforts in Idaho to manage our $17.1 million federal Charter School Program grant. As one of the country’s first non-profit organizations to receive federal CSP funding, the stakes for our work are very high, and our efforts to help open, expand and replicate public charter schools face scrutiny. I sleep better knowing Lumen Impact Group has worked closely with us to build our processes, procedures and playbook for managing the responsibility of directing and overseeing a significant federal grant. I highly recommend them to others. They are true pros."
Terry Ryan
CEO, Bluum
"As a family-owned and operated company, we needed to preserve our culture and define our mission, vision and values better as we grew. Lumen Impact Group helped capture a variety of diverse perspectives and hopes for the future in a way that connected everyone involved. Lumen Impact Group helped us create a clear strategic focus and for our future stabilized our culture. Lisa also coached our leadership team in supporting implementation."
Mark Smith
President, Krapohl Ford & Lincoln
"Lisa Diaz and Lumen Impact provided invaluable support to Colorado Charter Facility Solutions during our start-up phase. I was the new non-profit organization’s executive director (and only employee at the time), and Lisa knew answers to questions that I did not even know to ask. She made sure the board of directors was set up correctly and that the organizational documents were in place. Lisa helped me establish the organization’s goals and ways to track progress. Lisa is organized, patient and kind, and worked quickly, thoroughly and collaboratively. She is a good listener and even acted as an executive coach/therapist at times. When necessary, Lisa can be direct, yet she is always focused on the goals of the organization and its success. I highly recommend Lisa Diaz and Lumen Impact Group. "
Jane Ellis
Executive Director, Colorado Charter Facility Solutions
"I have worked with Lumen Impact Group at both the individual and organizational level. As a coach, Lisa has a natural ability to get to the heart of the matter quickly and to ask questions that help her clients translate insight into action. Each team member who has worked with Lisa in a coaching capacity has demonstrated visible growth that has positively impacted individual and team performance. As an organization, we are trying to be purposeful about the culture we are creating, as a means of best fulfilling our mission. Lumen Impact Group has been a tremendous thought partner along the way and has facilitated critical steps in a collaborative yet efficient and fun way. Our team was in awe at how much we accomplished collectively in a short period of time. We are moving toward our ideal culture much more quickly than I thought possible, and I have no doubt it is because of Lumen Impact Group’s guidance. "
Kasey Miller
Chief of Staff, National Association of Charter School Authorizers