A Passion for Understanding Each Other


I have made a career of helping people understand each other and make good group decisions. I have professionally facilitated over 3,000 meetings for all kinds of groups, mostly in the public sector. I have written a book called The Wisdom of Group Decisions.

Troubled by the growing political divide and by the growing lack of respect in political conversations, I had the idea for a Make Shift Coffee House: a place for people to talk with each other in person, about political issues, with live music and good food. No charge. All welcome. I organized the first one in my home town of Brunswick, Maine on January 14, 2017 not knowing if there would be a second. Turns out it was a good idea and demand has been growing ever since. In our first three years we had 40 in-person Make Shift Coffee Houses all over Maine. In May, 2020 we are making the transition to an online format.

In October, 2019 I was thrilled to receive the American Civic Collaboration Award (A Civvy Award) for the work of Make Shift Coffee House. That and so many other achievements are due to the support and enthusiasm of many people to whom I am very grateful.

One way or another I’m trying to bring people together across our differences to listen and talk with respect, and understand where each other is coming from. My experience with groups has taught me that adversaries can work together and get good stuff done if they demonstrate respect and seek understanding.

If we are to survive climate change or foreign intervention or coronavirus or any other national threat, we must work together in spite of our differences. For starters, we have to be able to talk.

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Craig Freshley, Founder

Here are some links if interested.

Good Group Decisions
This is my work website. On the Tips and Videos page you can find hundreds of little videos I have made (all transcribed), one-page tips, and training handouts on all aspects of group dynamics. All freely available. Sign up for my Good Group Tips if you want me to email you one every Tuesday morning. And here's my bio.

Make Shift Facebook
We post almost daily here. Follow us to learn about breaking news, conferences, new studies, and Make Shift updates!

Good Group Decisions Facebook
We post almost daily here too, all things about making good decisions in groups.

LinkedIn
Yup, here too. I post an article every Thursday.