Monthly Archives: April 2018

Why I love tax time

Well, Hartke Designs made it through our ninth tax season. And as crazy as this sounds, I love tax time! Here’s why…

I LOVE that Hartke Designs, with many thanks to our treasured clients, generates income for extremely talented instructional designers, project managers, developers, and graphic designers. And, it’s not until I tally up all the totals for our accountant do I really see just how much.

According to MBO Partners, State of Independence in America report, in 2015 36% of independents hired other independents equalling $101B or 2.4 million full-time workers. And if our numbers are any indication, I bet that number has increased in the … » Continue Reading.

The Power of Powerful Beginnings

Anyone who has worked with me will tell you, “Gretchen loves a good, meaty kickoff.” In fact, I love kickoffs so much, I have an internal team kickoff and a client kickoff.

I’ve always known the importance of a clear, powerful start of a project in my gut, but Daniel Pink shares fascinating (yes, I am a geek) research in When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing that explains why. He says, “Beginnings have a far greater impact than most of us understand. Beginnings, in fact, can matter to the end.”

You can read the book to see all the ins and … » Continue Reading.

The Power of Routines

Daniel Pink, in his book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing shares a lot of research about when people perform at their peak throughout a day. It got me thinking about the intentional choices we make about when things happen, and how those choices can help make us more effective. Enter the power of routines…

In my opinion, encouraging your teams to identify rhythms and routines, and then creating a culture that honors them, is one of the greatest acts of leadership you can demonstrate. Here are a couple that have made a difference for me, my clients, … » Continue Reading.

Why ‘when’ matters as much as ‘what’ and ‘how’

I recently read Daniel H. Pink‘s book When:The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing in two sittings and was mesmerized.

In this book, among other things, Pink asks and answers the question, “why does reaching the midpoint–of a project, a game, even a life–sometimes bring us down and other times fire us up?”

In true Daniel Pink fashion, his writing is crisp, clear, and full of accessible and relevant stories. He is masterful in his ability to synthesize tons of research and present a case for why we should care. Each chapter ends with a “Time Hacker’s Handbook” where Pink gives … » Continue Reading. A collaborative web annotation tool

I recently attended the Indiana University IST Conference put on by Graduates in Instructional System Technology and was introduced to this nifty tool by Ph.D. student Christoper Andrews during the Learning Science Symposium.


The skinny: An open source web-based tool that puts a note taking layer on top of, among other things, any web page or PDF.

A little more about it: Annotation in the “olden days:” We’ve all experienced ourselves annotating in the margins of our books. Whether we knew it or not, we did this to aid in our own learning and possibly to help ourselves … » Continue Reading.

If not you, then who?

I had the pleasure of attending, Pamay Bassey’s TedTALK in New York last week (it starts around minute 19 of the “Act 1” link). Pamay and I have worked together since 2007. I’ve been her client, she’s been my client, and through it all, we’ve been a sounding board for one another as we navigate the world of workplace learning… and beyond.

She said something in her talk that reminded me of a time during my first year as an independent consultant. I was having a particularly “low confidence day.” You know, the kind of day where you think to yourself, “Man, I … » Continue Reading.