Another way of thinking about the leverage point is that it is the area that contains the combination to unlocking all the barriers. That combination also operates at the level of the higher interests identified earlier – opening the door towards resolution. The identified leverage point can be tested against the barriers by asking the question:
- If this were resolved, what’s the impact on each of the obstacles? Ideally the answer will be positive but, at worst, it could be neutral.
Once again, it’s seductive but dangerous for participants to leap to a conclusion at this stage – the full process needs to be completed to ensure that any movement towards resolution is capable of working.
5. Create a new goal
Once light emerges from the door, a new goal needs to be established in order to move towards it. The new goal needs to have three characteristics:
- It acts specifically on the leverage point.
- When achieved, it satisfies the higher level interests of all the participants.
- It meets the criteria for a well-formed outcome. In particular, it is essential that it is under the direct control of the participants.
This goal will normally be a first step towards resolution, rather than a slam dunk. Its primary purpose is to initiate movement forwards from the previous stuck state. It may generate subsidiary outcomes that become milestones on the way towards its achievement.
6. Check against higher level interests
Crucially, achievement of the new outcome needs to deliver the higher interest of all the participants. If it does, then their commitment to the goal can be tested using outcome thinking tools. If it doesn’t, we need to go back to step 4 and check that the identified leverage point really does deal with all the barriers and obstacles identified.