The process steps are:
- State what the problem or presenting issue is, ideally in a manner that all parties can agree with (although this is not a critical part of the method).
- Chunk up to determine the higher interests, both disclosed and covert, of each of the parties.
- Chunk down to collect as much data as possible about the tangible and intangible barriers that have stopped the conflict being resolved before now.
- Identify a leverage point for action that would either resolve each of the barriers or, at worst, be neutral in its effect on them.
- Create a new goal that addresses the leverage point and is under the control of the participants.
- Check that the results of the new goal meet the higher interests identified in step 2.
The effectiveness of this process lies in its completeness: it systemically covers all the elements of the conflict system. It recognises that any dispute exists in relation to a complex set of relationships and interdependencies. Because the new goal has been derived from the system, it is much more likely to generate movement than anything forced from the outside. Flashes of insight will often be gained from parts of the process, but it is dangerous to attempt to implement these in a half-baked way as they may prove to be dead-ends by the time we have completed all steps of the method. These insights are potentially useful, but It’s best to park them so that they can contribute towards developing a more comprehensive and robust resolution later in the process.