A local maximum is a high-point that’s lower than other peaks, like a small hill on the edge of a mountain range. At a local maximum “Onwards and upwards” no longer works as a strategy: you can go higher, but you’ll need to go downwards first.
A dead-end in a maze might be a local maximum: you are the furthest into the maze you’ve been, but the only way forwards is to go backwards.
There are times when it becomes clear that you can’t go any further by continuing to do the same thing with the same people. You’ve reached a local maximum.
It’s likely that the way forward will feel – at first – like going backwards. Those are backward steps worth taking.