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How to build cross-functional skills - yes, you CAN learn to sing!

In the past few years, I've worked on mastering the art of singing, and I've dramatically improved my skills as a result. These days, I get plenty of praise after I sing, and most people say I'm really good. On a really good night, someone might even say I'm great. Gee, thanks! *blush*

One of the ways I've become good is to sing as many different types of genres as possible. I was classically trained but now I sing Alternative, Blues, Christian, Country, Hip-Hop, Motown, Rock, Soul, and even a little bluegrass. I also sing in as many venues as I can visit. Each one has a little different sound, and I get better because I have to adapt to be good in them. And then, I forget about that, and I sing my face off.

Last night, in a place I had never sung before, with just okay sound, I had a really interesting conversation with a young man after my first song. He told me I was good (not great!) and when I asked what he planned to sing, he said "Oh, I don't sing". "Not at all?" I asked. "Not even in the shower?" "Oh, yeah, I sing when I'm alone, but never in front of people. I'm not good, and I never will be".

Hmmmm don't you know that never is a LONG time?

"don't you know that never is a LONG time?"

It made me think, how many people believe they can't do something, so they never try? They're missing out on so much!

My husband is a good singer too. He tends to sing primarily Blues and some Rock, and he always gets praise. However, 10 years ago, he didn't sing. He thought he couldn't. His favorite phrase when asked if he sang was"I sing solo. So low you can't hear me". And to be honest, he wasn't good back then, the first time I invited him to my church and sat beside him during worship time, he was so off-key that I had to plug that ear so I didn't go off-key too.

Fast forward to 5 or 6 years ago. My family went to Karaoke about once a month. I sang, the kids sang, my brother, sister-in-law and their kids sang. Marc didn't sing. Until one night when he did. He sang the Blues Brothers "Hey Bartender" and he literally brought the house down. He was GOOD!

Since then he's tried about 20 different songs, and 10 were a great fit for him. So - how did he go from bad to good? He decided he could.

Wait, you say, it's not that simple! You can't just decide you're going to be good at something and boom - you're good! Or can you?

"You can't just decide you're going to be good at something and boom - you're good! Or can you?"

Take this example. My last job was in a company that had developers who coded in 2 different languages. We had the .NET teams and the PHP teams. They didn't share knowledge, kept their code bases private, and honestly, didn't like each other.

One of the PHP teams started a new project with lofty goals. They wanted to completely replace the existing retail site, with the new ReactJS framework, the ability to tie into a new CMS back end in the future, with 3 developers, only one who knew the technology, in 90 days. Oh, and all they had to guide them were one line user stories and a bunch of mockups. Crazy right?

During this time, they brought in a new agile team coach (me), a new Product Owner, and another new developer - from the .NET team!

Okay, I won't lie and say we did it in 90 days. It took 150. AND we completed another project at the same time.

Of course, we added 3 more developers, 1 from the PHP team and 2 contractors - who lived in Romania and Maldova. So we had a team from Eastern Europe to the West Coast. 6 different time zones, 3 countries and 7 states.

So how did all of these people learn a new technology, work together, and complete 2 projects?

They wanted to. So they did. And we used tools that enabled it. To start, I created a map named "Where in the World are the Retail Team Members?". We used a framework called Scrum that encouraged volunteerism and collaboration. We made sure we scheduled our events at a time that everyone could attend. Some of the team members adjusted their hours so they could have more time with the rest of the team.

"They taught each other how to use the new technology​"

What does this have to do with singing? Nothing and everything.

See, they believed they could get the work done, and they did. They were willing to learn whatever they had to learn, do whatever they had to do, and work with whoever they needed to work with, to accomplish their goal.

The same is true for singing, or anything you want to be good at. If you're willing to try something new, you can become good at it. Often, you can become good much earlier than you think you can, if you really want to.

So the question might not be can you develop new skills, but will you? After all, if you believe you can do something, you're probably right. If you don't believe you can do something, you're probably right about that too.

if you believe you can do something, you're probably right. If you don't believe you can do something, you're probably right about that too.​

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