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.
I do this work as a volunteer and many others have stepped up to volunteer also. Local hosts, organizers, and Advisory Board members have contributed hundreds of hours! And many people have contributed money to cover direct expenses such as travel and materials, and also to help compensate for my time because I can only do so much as a volunteer. This is a large group effort and I am very grateful for so many contributions.
I believe that America has been strong because of our unique political system which works best when people with different views work together. Right now people are so politically divided that we're not working together. The incivility and contempt people show to "the other side" threaten what we love about America.
I’m simply trying to bring people together face-to-face across our political divides to listen to each other with respect and understand where each other is coming from. My experience with groups has taught me that even ardent adversaries can work together and get good stuff done if they demonstrate respect and seek understanding.
Craig Freshley, Founder
By the way, here are some links if interested.
Good Group Decisions
This is my work website, where I make a living! 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 a 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.
Yup, here too. I post an article every Thursday.