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May 6, 2020 29 min

Episode 3 covers coaching and feedback. Matt and Alex discuss the Zone of Genius framework, and how it can help managers and teammates from burning out. They also talk about how to get the most out of one-on-one meetings, through structure and pre-preparation. Finally, they discuss Clearbit’s culture of feedback -- viewing feedback as the only way to achieve true personal growth. Matt and Alex share their frameworks for giving and receiving feedback in a productive way and demonstrate some examples.

We believe great management makes the world a better place. At Clearbit, we’re writing a handbook to train our managers, and we’re sharing it online at Each episode of this podcast accompanies a chapter of the book, and we get on the mic to discuss it in-depth, covering topics from hiring to conflict resolution to developing consciousness as a leader.

The Manager’s Handbook Podcast is hosted by Matt Sornson (CMO) and Alex MacCaw (CEO) of Clearbit.


The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg

What we’ll learn about on this episode:

(01:04) - On the Zone of Genius Framework - “It’s a handy framework for trying to understand how you should spend your life.”

(03:18) - The four stages of the framework and how to know when you have reached your zone of genius - “Zone of Excellence is where people get caught up. These are things they're good at, but it doesn't give them energy over the long term. Eventually, this results in burnout.”

(04:10) - Should you expect everyone in your team to work in their zone of genius? - “You should be thinking of your team as cast members in a film that you’re making, and try to cast them in the right roles.”

(05:35) - How to prevent burnout for yourself and your team members - “It’s much better to focus your feedback on people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses.”

(07:16) - The importance of feedback, on Clearbit’s definition of the term and their formula to give feedback properly - “I believe that feedback is the only way to achieve true personal growth.”

(14:58) - How to care enough and listen: receiving feedback from others - “Just because someone gives you feedback doesn't mean you have to accept it … but you have to make them feel heard.”

(17:56) - On “one on one” meetings and how preparation will optimize your time - “Your report will get a lot more out of that meeting if they are structured.”

(21:23) - A guide on how to properly give critical feedback to others - “They need to know that you actually care about them as a person.”

(24:09) - The common mistakes every new manager makes - “If you’re not delegating things, then your report is not learning.”

About Clearbit:

Clearbit is the marketing data engine for customer interactions, made with love in the heart of San Francisco. If you want more details on how we help businesses grow, please see our solutions, products, and integrations at

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