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FAQs

LeanMail Training FAQs

What is LeanMail?

LeanMail is a group of customizable solutions for managing email that combines best in-class practices with proprietary add-ins that seamlessly bolt onto Microsoft Outlook.

Each LeanMail solution, or module, is independent from the other, but can be combined to satisfy your specific email management needs.

Among the challenges that LeanMail solves are: high volume, prioritization, planning, keeping track, filing and finding, and shared inboxes.

 

Where can I get more information about LeanMail?

Contact us at: info@leanmail.com

or call
In Europe:
+34 696 259 660
+45 3695 0390

In the US
+1 415 799 9660

In the Pacific
+61 (0)413 830 772

Can’t you configure Outlook to do most of the things that the LeanMail add-in can?
This is actually a pretty loaded question because it makes three assumptions:  1) the LeanMail method is all about the LeanMail add-in 2) it is possible to come close to the configuration that we have devised in the LeanMail add-in (throughout the course of six years and thousands of man-hours of customer interviews, design and programming) and 3) that if you could somehow configure Outlook similarly to how we have adapted it with the LeanMail tool you could blissfully sail through the management of your emails and suddenly develop all the good habits that would enable you to miraculously change your ways.

Unfortunately, many IT managers ask this question with more than a bit of skepticism regarding the uniqueness of the LeanMail add-in.  Our response is:  show us how you did it, and then show us the results of your training after three months and we’ll compare your numbers with our numbers.  Never once has anyone come back to us because they very quickly see that just because they can paint it red, put in a big engine and some fat tires, it will never be a Ferrari  – and worse, no one will want to drive their creation so they can forget about scaling it throughout the organization.

Without getting into too much detail, there are a few things that you certainly can do by configuring Outlook.  You can devise all sorts of rules and have people drag emails to tasks and all kinds of folders. (LeanMail eliminates almost all folders)  There are countless books that cover this.  Then there are plenty of competitors to LeanMail like www.clearcontext.com , www.gtd.com , http://www.franklincovey.com/tc/software-and-applications/ and many others.  They all claim to do the same thing that LeanMail does: give you control over your inbox.

But it is very easy to see that we got a few things right that none of the others did:

  1. The LeanMail method is not tool based.  The tool was created to facilitate the habit.  That becomes abundantly clear from the first training.
  2. The LeanMail method is comprised of two steps.  Just take a look at the complexity of all the others.  You’ll want to pull your hair out every time you have to process an email.
  3. It’s very easy to re-mount the horse if you fall off LeanMail for a few days.  The other methods are so complex that you’ll have to look up things in the manual.  We have one but no one ever uses it unless they want to learn more about our philosophy – which is awesome.
  4. Look at the testimonials from our clients.  It says it all – and many have tried the other methods.
How do I deal with having over 100 emails in my inbox?

Follow 6 Steps To Deal With Over 100 Mails In Your Inbox

  1. Prioritize
    1. Using the Ctrl key cherry-pick emails that you know can wait for at least a week and add to your Read Later folder
    2. Sort by Person or Subject and look for three or more emails in groups and delete or prioritize them as groups using the shift or Ctrl key.
  2. Plan the important emails
  3. Do the important Today emails
  4. Plan the rest
  5. Re-plan the Today view
  6. Do the rest
If LeanMail is so simple, why do we need training?

Most of the training centers upon building the new habit. As a matter of fact, learning the basic functionality of LeanMail only takes a few minutes. (Learning the functionality of a piano, just a few seconds!) But as we all know, no one becomes a virtuoso without a lot of practice and a great teacher.

Our training program is the heart and soul of LeanMail. Although the software application is indispensable (though we have a separate training program for Mac users and those who can’t get the support from their IT departments), it is in the training that a new understanding about how email can be leveraged in ways you never thought of. The tool that was once a hate-object becomes your best workmate.

How many LeanMail training sessions and how long is each session?
For training in the the LeanMail Suite (corporate training) there are four sessions:
1. 1½ hour training
2. 30-minute coaching
3. 1½ hour training
4. 30-minute coachingOtherwise, most modules are 50 minutes.
Why can’t you do all the LeanMail training in one day?

You can do all the training in one day, but you will still need to have coaching sessions about a week apart.  We prefer not to do all the training in one day because it is too much information for the participant to absorb.  They end of forgetting important instructions and get frustrated.

How many people can participate in a LeanMail session?

We have private training for executives and on-line courses for up to 8 persons. We also do classroom learning for up to 12 persons.

Why are there limits to the training group size?

Our training group limits – why we set limits and why you wouldn’t want to change them.

 

From over ten years of experience training LeanMail, we have found that groups of eight people are the most effective for face-to-face training and six people for on-line training.  We have stretched this to twelve and eight, respectively, in order to meet the economic restrictions of some of our customers. (Eight and six is a much more comfortable setting and not that much more expensive, so please do consider this alternative seriously.)

The number of people we permit in a training session is based upon two variables: the amount of attention that is necessary to guarantee success for our many different types of participants, and economics. We are aware that our customers would like to maximize the number of participants in order to reduce the economic burden of the training, but even when a single person fails to engage, no one is satisfied. Furthermore, keeping the atmosphere relaxed and enjoyable is vital to the success of any change management process.

LeanMail training, as those who have taken our training will attest, is a careful combination of live instruction and real-time application of the learning. While there is little variation in training time, each group varies somewhat when it comes to applying what they have learned.  Rushing through the training when participants have to take a little longer than anticipated to understand and apply the training can often create confusion and frustration thus diminishing the fun experience and ultimately undermining the training.  Adding more time to the training session has been experimented with in the past, but it did little to diminish the cost and the training became too long and difficult to schedule.

What the future holds

We are currently working on combining eLearning with our training in order to lower the cost burden on our customers.  We recently implemented pre-training preparation surveys which have saved 30 minutes of group training.  This enabled us to reduce our training times, and ultimately training costs, which we passed to our customers.

This is also where our customers have some influence.  Are you ready to scale your organization?  Let’s come to an agreement about a significant number of users and give you a nice discount for helping us to develop our eLearning.

How can I ensure that employees retain the LeanMail method?

Just because we know something is good for us doesn’t mean we’ll take the medicine, eat our vegetables, go to the gym or stop smoking.

Most users will agree that LeanMail provides a platform from which one can be in total control of their email – if they follow the regimen.  In the beginning, managing email in the new way goes swimmingly.  Then life happens.  Many come to believe that they receive too much mail or have too little time in order to follow the method.  Others feel that the method is too administrative.

In general, LeanMail users fall into two groups:

1. Those who are consistent in following the method as they manage email

2. Those who use LeanMail to “clean up”.

The former group understands that LeanMail is not an afterthought, but a way of managing email.  They have adopted the two-step approach and follow it thoroughly.

The latter, however, are inconsistent with their practice.  They tend to do only parts of the method.  Even if they were convinced in the first few weeks, they are no longer convinced.

Like swimming, you cannot expect to float if you do not continually make strokes in the water.  You cannot make strokes sometimes because you will lose buoyancy and sink.  The LeanMail method keeps you afloat because it supports and guides you in working in an efficient way.  As soon as you return to old habits, however, you not only lose buoyancy, you lose speed.  It’s as if the swimming lane just got longer because of the redundancies (re-reading, re-deciding, searching).

Worse, because of the micro-task nature of email, the detours we take don’t register until we’re overloaded.

There is hope, however.

Remember that first week when you seemed to be in complete control of your inbox?  Or maybe it lasted three months before it started to erode?  We need to return to that level and receive a small amount of help through regular mini check-ups that will be just enough of a push to keep us on track.

How long do you track training participants?

We currently track participants for up to one year.

Why do we need to send the “snow” emails?

Sending the snow is the most important part of the LeanMail training:

  • By sending us daily print-screens you guarantee yourself success.
  • You won’t know the power of LeanMail until you’ve gone home every day for a week with snow, so try to take it very seriously.
  • You’ll improve over time.
  • It’s the only requirement to pass the course, and it’s EASY.
  • TIP: To send the snow you have to click on the camera in the LeanMail add-in and rank yourself
What is the purpose of the 3, 6 and 12 month follow-up surveys?

For the customer, surveys illustrate the success they have had as well as provide feedback about who is “getting” it and who is not.

For Atrendia, surveys help us see if we are on track, which trainers are doing well/poorly, and how different training methods affect the participants.  Surveys also allow us to benchmark our services, allowing us to market our success in getting LeanMail to stick.

Do you offer training in writing better emails?

We offer a 1-hour eLearning program called Email Excellence. Our customers receive a discount on this course.

What service can I expect from LeanMail after the training?

We provide full support of our software and training as well as a retention program to ensure all users never fall off the wagon. Ask us about our Guaranteed Retention Program (at least 40 users).

How can I ensure that employees retain the LeanMail method?

Just because we know something is good for us doesn’t mean we’ll take the medicine, eat our vegetables, go to the gym or stop smoking.

Most users will agree that LeanMail provides a platform from which one can be in total control of their email – if they follow the regimen.  In the beginning, managing email in the new way goes swimmingly.  Then life happens.  Many come to believe that they receive too much mail or have too little time in order to follow the method.  Others feel that the method is too administrative.

In general, LeanMail users fall into two groups:

1. Those who are consistent in following the method as they manage email

2. Those who use LeanMail to “clean up”.

The former group understands that LeanMail is not an afterthought, but a way of managing email.  They have adopted the two-step approach and follow it thoroughly.

The latter, however, are inconsistent with their practice.  They tend to do only parts of the method.  Even if they were convinced in the first few weeks, they are no longer convinced.

Like swimming, you cannot expect to float if you do not continually make strokes in the water.  You cannot make strokes sometimes because you will lose buoyancy and sink.  The LeanMail method keeps you afloat because it supports and guides you in working in an efficient way.  As soon as you return to old habits, however, you not only lose buoyancy, you lose speed.  It’s as if the swimming lane just got longer because of the redundancies (re-reading, re-deciding, searching).

Worse, because of the micro-task nature of email, the detours we take don’t register until we’re overloaded.

There is hope, however.

Remember that first week when you seemed to be in complete control of your inbox?  Or maybe it lasted three months before it started to erode?  We need to return to that level and receive a small amount of help through regular mini check-ups that will be just enough of a push to keep us on track.

What if I decide that I don’t like LeanMail? Can I go back to my old way without much trouble?

Going back to your old way would require you to uninstall the software and change a view in your settings. That’s it.

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