As a professionally trained mediator, I recognize that disagreements need to be addressed and that as such, there are ways to accomplish agreement without having a “winner” and a “loser”.  Taking the appropriate steps can be critical to achieving a resolution.

Step 1 focuses on understanding that it is your mind that causes you to react the way you do.

Step 2 emphasizes being aware, in the moment, of assumptions you are making.

Step 3 asks you to rethink the assumptions that have prompted your actions toward someone. 

Step 4 encourages you to help others rethink assumptions behind their actions toward you.

Step 5 calls for you and another person to discard mutually invalid assumptions and agree on ways to relate to each other in the future.

Step 6 reminds you that checking out and discarding ungrounded assumptions is a lifelong endeavor. 

Referenced in all of the six steps is a tool called the Ladder of Assumptions that helps people understand how their minds work. It graphically displays how we see the world, what kinds of conclusions we reach from our observations, and how we act based on our conclusions.

It demonstrates that when we find ourselves in conflict with someone, it is our own mind that causes us to react the way we do. If one of our personal goals is to establish and maintain positive relationships with other people, the Ladder provides a basis for learning how to become aware of what is in our minds, challenge