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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.


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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This week in the United States is teacher appreciation week and I wanted us to do some smart thinking and reflection around those that ensure that we have the ability to be one of the most educated cultures in the world.

  • List as many of your teachers as you can? 
  • What did these educators do for you to make you who you are today? 
  • What can you do to reinforce the work of the honorable educators in your life? 
  • What will you do to help guide others into the greatest profession in the world?

 Follow me on Twitter: @tneitzke

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Everywhere you go and everything you do -- people are watching, people are paying attention, and people are formulating judgments. So what do you do with that type of knowledge and how do you lead knowing that the world is watching?

  • What is your leadership reputation amongst your friends and colleagues?
  • If you were to put your reactions to situations in the mirror, what would your image reflect?
  • Who are your role models and would they be proud of how you lead?
  • Finally, do you practice reflection in an effort to grow as a leader for those you serve?


Follow me on Twitter: @tneitzke

Like us on Facebook: ww.facebook.com/smrtthnkng/

Contact me: ted@cesa6.org

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This episode explores the need for leaders to reinforce the energy and effort of others. Take a listen as we discuss the real way to get people to be their best.

  • What is the last compliment you paid to someone between the ages of 13 and 100?
  • If you serve adolescents and young adults – how do you make certain they know that you are proud of them?
  • If you serve older adults—how do you make certain they know that you know that they positively contribute to the team?
  • Can you practice seeing simple successes in others?
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Too often we do not confront the ideas and stories swirling around in our heads. This episode describes two strategies that can be employed to support your ability to make informed decisions and grow your ability to coach yourself and others.


  • What are the stories in your head and will you confront those stories by sharing them?
  • When you get to a point of frustration or anxiety can you demonstrate the courage to expel the new narrative and get to the heart of the matter?
  • Will you take the time to put your eyes on the entire situation so that you see the reasons you are getting the results you are?
  • Lastly, what will you do as you start to feel a story emerging in your head – will you immediately confront it or allow it to grow into a chapter book?


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Leading others is never easy. Leadership is: rewarding, difficult, engaging, stressful, heart swelling and heartbreaking. However, there is one trait that takes leaders from one level to the next – commitment. 

  • Describe how you can coach others to committing to leadership?
  • How committed are you to growing personally and professionally?
  • How do you practice putting others before self?
  • When you commit to serving others and leading -- how do you keep yourself accountable?
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