In context of our discussions, here is some guidance coming from Wendy McPhedran – she used to work with Peter Senge and SOL (Society for Organisational Learning)
1) ALWAYS try to find the good AND the bad in every situation. THAT’s systems thinking. Seek clarity and perspective, not reinforcing your own pre-conceived beliefs. It’s most often REALLY HARD, in the heat of a disagreement, to stop our own “run-away-train” line of arguing. It requires a mature and disciplined mind to desist debating and seek the often unclear pros and cons of a situation. And when it matters most, this kind of discipline is needed most.
2) “Bitching and moaning” is an absolute no-no (along with unconstructive cynicism). If you don’t agree, don’t respond until you have either a helpful question to ask (designed for clarity, not blame nor to make yourself look smart) AND you are ready with a suggestion for a possible resolution to the problem.
Peter (Senge) used to say to people – “leave your cynicism at the door, but please bring your curiosity to the discussion”.
Just another thought – Bill Isaacs says that when someone that you know to be sensible, even intelligent, says or does something apparently crazy, STOP and wonder – what would make him/her say/do something like that? It’s a good way to begin to see a side of the arguement that you previously had not seen. Asking good questions after that pause is the best next step.