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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.


Leadership is everywhere and anyone who has influence over another person is a leader. Human beings learn best from the example of others and when you have an influential platform you have an opportunity to impact others. This episode profiles a princess who changed the world with a simple gesture. 

  • How aware are you of your words and actions when you are around others?
  • Describe how you use your leadership to support the humility of others so they recognize they’re being studied.
  • Would you have had the courage to take the hand of the man in London?
  • What will you do different today as a leader in order to change the world?
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This episode is a discussion about having a “you first” attitude for those you serve. When you have a “you first” mindset -- you are looking for ways to improve others, you are looking for doors to open in other peoples leadership, and you are looking for strategies to support them so that they realize their potential.

  • When was the last time you opened a door for someone?
  • How can you literally and figurative open doors for those you serve?
  • Finally, What can you do to create a culture of “you first?”


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This episode focuses on a process that will allow leaders to support the learning of those they serve. The process allows the audience to think, talk, and work with the new information in a simple way that will encourage collaboration as well as the retention of knowledge.

  • Describe how you currently support those you lead in their ability to reflect upon new knowledge.
  • What process do you have in place to support the retention of knowledge.
  • Do you have time to go onto the CESA 6 webpage and print off the Knowledge of Illusion Brief? https://www.cesa6.org/cms_files/resources/The%20Knowledge%20Illusion-published.pdf
  • Finally, when you are with others how do you support their ability to learn from your shared experience if you are not employing a process?
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Did you ever notice that just about halfway through any journey, project, or task – you loose a little motivation? This episode we are going to look at a quick strategy to help leaders reflect upon how far they’ve come and provide some fuel for you or those you serve to get to the finish line.


  • What journey are you and those you serve on right now?
  • When was the last time you stopped and looked around with your team and discussed the work and efforts?
  • What are your processes for celebration?
  • Do you have money in the budget for colorful post-it pads?
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Leaders need to have an understanding of history, understand the immediate situation, and have a strong vision for the future. Too often leaders are good at one of the three critical components needed to make good decisions and in this episode we will explore how one man understood the past, lived in the present, and envisioned the future in an eerily accurate fashion.

  • How often do you allow the cynics to manipulate your mindset?
  • Are you good at acknowledging the past, recognizing the situation and visioning for the future?
  • Are you strong enough to ignore the cynics and do what you believe is the best to meet your informed vision?
  • Do you recognize the benefits of failing and then daring to fail greatly?
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What do you do when you have a sense of optimism and you find yourself being actively anchored by pessimists? This episode will explore the mindset of improvement and how important it is to maintain an optimistic train of thought.

  • Are you reflecting in order to grow or are you believing you’re buffalo and accidently admiring the cows?
  • What behaviors do you model around improvement? 
  • Do admire solutions or admire the problem? 
  • Do you fix problems or do you fix blame? 
  • Do you seek strategies or do you seek excuses
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This week’s episode is entitled: Graduate and Grow. I explore how we should use every experience each day to review our learning and reflect to be better tomorrow.


  • How can you increase your own awareness of the contribution of others to your success?
  • Where are you going to get your ticket punched today, tomorrow, and everyday?
  • What risks are you willing to take to grow?
  • List the ways you will live your life so that each day you graduate from one to the other!
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As we approach the summer, I want to give you a few texts that I would recommend you read in order to grow your leadership. Each book I have read and I am recommending for a different reason – but each is interesting and will allow you to grow as a leader. 



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This episode explores a process that allows you to intentionally collect feedback so that you can pivot quickly, improve, and reflect for greater success.

  • How do you use feedback to grow yourself and others?
  • Can you apply the plus/delta process to everything you do?
  • How could you apply this process in your personal and professional life?
  • What are your deltas and how willing are you to change your behaviors so that you can better serve others?


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In life and leadership many of us individually are working very hard to support and serve others. But what are we doing as leaders each day to prepare those around us to lead and keep the momentum going in our world? This week let’s do some smart thinking on how we can prepare others to be successful by reflecting upon how to support succession.


  • In your life do you think about succession and sharing your skills and knowledge with those around you? 
  • In your professional life, are you looking at those around you and supporting their leadership development by intentionally exposing them to your knowledge, networks, and processes? 
  • Do you treat every relationship in the master/apprentice mode – switching the roles depending on your relationship with others?
  • Do you create succession around you by teaching others to fish – or do you just feed them for short-term success?
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