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The Power of Facilitation

Here’s a new book that looks pretty great.

I haven’t read it yet but looked through it and I liked everything I saw.

It’s an anthology of writings on different facilitation topics, with some great graphics.

Download the book FOR FREE right here

If anyone has reactions to this book or critiques, please comment here.

Anyone want to write a review?

Know of other good facilitation books?

The Gatherings

I haven’t even read this book yet and I love it.

I think this book is about bridging divides; about understanding each other. “The Gatherings provided an opportunity to learn “from” rather than learn “about” Indigenous experiences and perspectives, a subtle but powerful distinction that disrupts the colonial legacy of objectifying Indigenous peoples.” That’s from the Afterward by Frances Hancock.

This is what we tried to do at Make Shift Coffee Houses; places where liberals and conservatives came together to learn “from” each other rather than “about” each other. And it disrupted the labels they otherwise put on each other.

Here’s from the jacket flap: In a world that requires knowledge and wisdom to address developing crises around us, The Gatherings shows how Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples can come together to create meaningful and lasting relationships.

Thirty years ago, in Wabanaki territory – a region encompassing the state of Maine and the Canadian Maritimes – a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals came together to explore some of the most pressing questions at the heart of Truth and Healing efforts in the United States and Canada. Meeting over several years in long-weekend gatherings, in a Wabanaki-led traditional Council format, assumptions were challenged, perspectives upended, and stereotypes shattered. Alliances and friendships were formed that endure to this day.

The Gatherings tells the moving story of these meetings in the words of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants. Reuniting to reflect on how their lives were changed by their experiences and how they continue to be impacted by them, the participants share the valuable lessons they learned.

The many voices represented in The Gatherings offer insights and strategies that can inform change at the individual, group, and systems levels. These voices affirm that authentic relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples – with their attendant anxieties, guilt, anger, embarrassments, and, with time, even laughter and mutual affection – are key to our shared futures here in North America. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we come together to reimagine.

The book is authored by Shirley N. Hager and Mawopiyane. Shirley Hager is a retired from University of Maine Cooperative Extension and is a Maine Quaker active in Tribal-State relations. Mawopiyane, in Passamaquoddy, literally means “let us sit together,” but the deeper meaning is a group of people coming together, as in a longhouse, to struggle with a sensitive or divisive issue…..  Mawopiyane is a word that is recognizable in all Wabanaki languages, and it reflects the collaborative nature of our efforts [from the book].

Here are the names of the contributors: Gwen Bear, The Reverend Shirley Bowen, Alma H. Brooks/Zapawey-kwey, gkisedtanamoogk, JoAnn Hughes, Debbie Leighton, Barb Martin, Miigam’agan, T. Dana Mitchell, Wayne A. Newell, Betty Peterson, Marilyn Keyes Roper, Wesley Rothermel.

You can get the book through your local book store. They are in stock at Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick. Or you can order online direct from the publisher.

Thank you Shirley and Mawopiyane for writing such an inspiring book.

Love and its Languages

Several years ago I wrote a Good Group Tip called Love and it was published in my first book. A high school friend of my daughter’s picked up the book and thumbed through it, stopping on the Love page. “I get that this is a book about group decision making, ” he said in a 16-year kind of way. “But what’s love got to do with it?”

I’m pretty sure he had no idea about the Tina Turner song. It’s just that he reckoned himself a future businessman and couldn’t see why Love would be in a business book.

Then this comment shows up at the website. Just days ago. About Love. From my brother John Prista Freshley. A businessman.

“I have started and led a wide variety of start-ups. And, ever since Craig wrote this tip in his book, I have included it in every company (starting in 2006). And, I have tried to practice and, often, quite explicitly. “I want us to have loving, caring relationships with each other. Start-ups are hard and love is part of the glue that will hold us together.” It is always a powerful moment.

A lesson learned….

Like many of Craig’s tips, it is sometimes super hard to practice and…a few years back, one of my daughters suggested that I read “The 5 Love Languages.” There are some simplistic things in there, but I instantly realized that many of my colleagues that I thought I was treating lovingly, did not receive it that way. I was not speaking their language!

I was direct, up-front, challenging them to grow, concerned about the career prospects. Sometimes, that was received as intended. And, sometimes, it was received at pushy, arrogant, “you don’t think I am any good and need to better.” It did not feel like love at all.

So, Craig – I suggest an edit to this old and powerful tip! “Love absolutely belongs in a meeting room and an organization. And, to demonstrate that, learn how your peers and colleagues know that you are being loving towards them.”