Steve Goguen and I regularly discuss all sorts of things, and today he made a fantastic observation and gave me some incredibly sage advice:
I want to give you some advice which I think you’ll find when arguing with someone, especially if you want the argument to be productive. You need to tell the person what parts or assumptions you agree with otherwise you will create an atmosphere where the person will think you disagree on every possible point and they won’t want to continue the conversation. I know you, and I know we are in agreement with a lot of things, but if I didn’t know you there’s no way I would come to that conclusion.
He’s right; when I argue, I am incredibly adversarial and I know it hurts my ability to move the discussion forward. I don’t know why I argue this way, but it’s what comes naturally. I do need to start working on a strategy of discourse that frames the conversation in a win-win atmosphere.
I’m incredibly fortunate to have good friends, like Steve.