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Ted Neitzke brings you the “The Smart Thinking Podcast” Smart Thinking is for anyone and everyone who has a stake in the future of a child. The goal is to increase reflection, empathy, as well as personal and professional development. The podcast will be posted every Monday with reflective exercises and every other Thursday with guests.


Take a listen as we break down G.R.I.T. --- gusto, resilience, integrity and tenacity.


  • Describe one behavior from the grit principle that you need to strengthen.
  • List your strategies to support the growth of grit in others.
  • Analyze your own behaviors – how would you scale your gusto, resilience, integrity, and tenacity when viewing your most recent challenge.


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Listen as we explore why people put themselves in lanes they have no business being in and learn two processes to support your leadership. Stay in your lane!


  • Describe your three lanes and reflect on times you’ve chosen to go off road.
  • List areas that you could benefit others by using a decision-making matrix. 
  • Describe one project that would benefit from an innovation configuration map.
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Developing customs in your worlds is critical to creating an engaging culture. This episode explores how we can take the lessons of homecoming and apply them in all of our environments.

  • Describe how you can provide voice for all involved?
  • List ways that you can celebrate past and present failures? 
  • Describe how you can create collaborative opportunities for people to reflect.


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This episode explores how parents think and why they “just don’t understand. Not that they are aloof – instead, that parents don’t always understand what to do to support their family. This is a discussion on strategies for parents and those that serve their families.

  • Describe how you can support parents with the details needed to support the narrative?
  • List strategies to support parents who are stuck in control mode.
  • Describe how you can be allies with parents when they are in protect mode.
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Does life happen to you or for you? Take a listen as we explore the importance of recognizing that everything in life is you for you and you can take advantage of every challenge that comes your way. Why? Because you matter!

  • Describe what happens for you?
  • List strategies you can employ to shift your mindset to a "this is happening for me thought process."
  • Describe how you will place yourself second.
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Have you ever found yourself in an argument and later on asked yourself – what just happened? In this episode we are going to explore the behaviors needed to get out of an argument or conflict that has become an unbreakable cycle.


  • Describe what you will do to see the threats others are feeling.
  • List the steps for disengaging from the threat cycle.
  • Describe how others can help you recognize your low tolerance areas.





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Communication is a frustrating topic and few people are ever satisfied with organizational communication. Join us for a discussion that shares the problem and the process to increase collaborative communication. This episode is applicable at every level of an organization.

  • Describe strategies you could employ to determine the best ways to communicate with your team.
  • List the ways you prefer to receive information
  • Describe an approach you could employ to change how people receive your information.
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This episode explores how we can address those in our lives that have fallen out of alignment with our expectations. A teachable moment provides the chance for you as the leader to step back and assess the situation and bring clarity to the person who is not in alignment with your norms or worse – trying to undermine the culture of your organization, classroom, division, department or company.

  1. Confront the situation
  2. Demonstrate how their behavior is impacting the situation 
  3. Support them with expected behaviors
  4. Choice 
  5. Accountability 
  • Describe what you can do to support someone who’s mindset is stuck in the negative. 
  • List ways you can shift to teachable moments 
  • Describe the ways in which you can support others in fixing the problem and not fixing blame.


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This episode explains the FRANC principle. It will help you grow as a leader and serves as a great reminder to us all -- how to lead every day. 






  • What do you need to do to be FRANC every day?
  • Describe what you need to do different today to apply one of the FRANC principles.
  • List those in your life that have been FRANC with you.


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Listen as we explore how we "get to" create the conditions of hope and optimism using tools in our organizations.

  • List your value propositions.
  • Describe your process for propagating the “get to’s” in your organization that will steer mindset.
  • List your behaviors so that you can be the fortune teller for your organization.



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