During the pandemic, there has been a lot of self-congratulatory excitement as organizations went ‘virtual.’ People did navigate the transition very quickly by moving meetings online and using team chat spaces to share work. However, depending on who you are, where you work, and your role you likely experienced very different virtual work realities.

We’ve Been Doing More Than Working Remotely; We’ve Been Working Through a Pandemic

It feels like a lot of the conversation about going back to work focuses on the physical presence — and ignores the fact that employees weren’t just working from home. Many people were not even able to work remotely and that includes a lot of partners…


Slide from my 2011 Enterprise 2.0 Presenation — Amended for 2021

The COVID pandemic has been a blessing and a curse for digital transformation efforts. It forced the adoption of tools, which everyone is celebrating. It also forced people out of their ruts and created new elasticity in brains, which increases learning and adaptation. However, using new tools and working in new ways are two entirely different things. The use of this new technology has mostly mimicked existing habits, silos, and power structures. Like many efforts to change, the inertia of the old power structures has overwhelmed any attempt to make substantive changes. …


Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images

This week the fantasy of the American dream died — in nooses designed for our most senior elected officials. It was a chilling end to the American dream.

It never actually existed.

The American experiment was created to enrich white men. The governance of our ‘democracy’ gave them the political and economic power to succeed regardless of their effort, intelligence, or ethics.

Our government gave white men:

  • The right to vote
  • The right to own property
  • The right to enslave others
  • The right to judge and punish others
  • The right to make financial decisions and access banking
  • The right to…

Political and social strife, police abuse, systemic racism, deadly results of COVID-19, a dramatic and quick switch to digital and virtual work for many, ‘essential’ workers put in harm’s way without basic protections and support, children who could no longer play, and vast isolation.

2020 has forced a reckoning

Reckoning with the impact of technology on information, news, and society

Reckoning with our racism

Reckoning with our economic inequality

Reckoning with a lifestyle that is destroying the earth

Reckoning with our power — and its limits

We are not who we were when we started.

Lines and intent have…


One of my cousins recently asked me “When are you coming home?” She was asking me when I would be back in Batesville, IN for a visit. I have never lived in Batesville — I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts — but both of my parents were farm kids from small-town Indiana.

Today, November 4th, 2020, the gulf between those two places has never seemed larger. Indiana was the first state to be called for President Trump in last night’s election tally. Massachusetts wasn’t far behind — but voted 2:1 for Vice President Biden. …


Authenticity is Infectious — Me with business friends (and colleagues, partners, clients)

I have been thinking a lot about leadership. It took me decades to even think about what leadership meant — especially as it applies to me. I was raised in a world where acknowledged leaders neither looked like me nor had similar social positions and roles. Clearly, I could not be a leader — so why think about it?

Over the past decade, the denial of leadership became problematic — because more people, and more influential people, started to pay attention to what I said. Other people treated me like a leader well before I considered myself to be one…


Leadership is used in all sorts of contexts. I find it hard to unpack. For years I ignored it because it was too ambiguous and confusing to apply — certainly to myself.

In organizations, we typically conflate leadership with executive roles. The irony of that is that many executives are quite constrained in their ability to lead because of the governance structure in which they operate. They are legally and financially responsible for organizational assets and are punished for major disruptions to those assets. The implication? While executives certainly have the ability to change how the assets they are given…


In 2020, the US finds itself in a crisis of trust. Division, not unity, is the norm. Isolation, depression, anxiety, and hatred are creating a toxic and vulnerable society. This cultural vulnerability is being exploited by those who benefit from it — foreign adversaries, the wealthiest 1%, and unscrupulous politicians.

What happened?

There are a lot of different analyses of this, many looking at global economic and technology trends — but I think those are accelerants and not the core problem. I want to offer an alternative perspective.

From 1950 to 2000, the percentage of women in the paid workforce…


Guilt and shame are poor motivators and excellent silencers.

When many white people think about racism, shame and guilt wash over them and more often than not, paralyze them. The idea of talking about racism makes many white Americans feel vulnerable and exposed.

Our history lessons have given most of us just enough to know that slavery and racism were really bad. But shame keeps us from digging too deeply because it feels like you will drown in shame.

I grew up in an incredibly diverse school system with friends of all races nationalities and sexual orientations, which in the…


Online communities may feel different than offline communities — they definitely don’t have the same immediacy and energy as those in the physical world — but the dynamics of how they form, mature, and change are similar. Offline those dynamics are obscured by the complexity of communities where engagement happens in so many different places that it is hard to see in aggregate. Online, however, we can aggregate the engagement of large and complex communities to see patterns. Over a decade of research and work allows us to zero in on some of the critical factors that make communities successful…

Rachel Happe

Connector of ideas & people. Fascinated by social dynamics & false truths. Co-Founder of The Community Roundtable. Mother to The Puzzle Master.

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