Skip to main content

In Conversation with real people – Engagement

Engagement covers all connection with people, teams and systems in Health and Social Care. From community activities and individual conversations through to the communications and engagement activity linked to our app and websites, it’s all valuable insight, feedback and relationship building.



Through engagement we are developing relationships across Health and Care so that we may understand the realities of leadership, make connections, and act in service of the wider system. As we seek to enable leadership at all levels, our engagement approach spans sectors, organisations, roles, bands, professions and networks. We are achieving this digitally and in person.

It is our aim to reach leaders from the whole health and social care system, welcoming everyone, no matter what their experience, background or interests are in leadership.  The more diverse the better and everyone is more than welcome.  The opportunity to host spaces for leaders to come together to talk about the realities, challenges and learning from leading in these times is a welcomed contribution and one that signals value and lasting connections across the system.

The year’s highlights in Engagement

Increased engagement

There has been a continual increase the number of people engaging with the website, the app and our events.  Building on this, we have engaged people from a wider range of roles, levels and organisations in our thinking, our events and our design of the website, comms, community activity, leadership development and talent management.

Diversity in reach

The range of individuals has continued to increase as we are seeing individuals from not only the NHS but Social Care and the third and voluntary sector registering for the app, visiting the website and attending events.  This has enabled us to reach a wider range of people from across the system and across roles with new development opportunities and community engagements.

More community in engagement

We have listened with curiosity and been able to engage in more dialogue with our communities. This has enabled us to understand more of what is valuable for them and a more conversational approach to our decision making, thus leading to a higher level of input from them in design and delivery.

Community Potential

The need to pause, take a breath, and find space to understand what we’ve gone through, are still going through and will go through is really crucial… We have the opportunity of a lifetime to set the direction”

Dave Caesar, Project Lift

Our plan for the last year

  • We will continue to build our connections across the NHS, Local Authorities, Integration Joint Authorities, Social Care, Third & Charity Sectors, and the wider Public Sector – in support of developing a more integrated approach to learning & development as well as fostering the kind of cross-system collaborative working envisaged in the National Performance Framework.
  • We will continue to nurture diverse ways for people in leadership roles and those with a potential interest in leadership to connect with each other across the country – for support, challenge and sharing learning through: – broadening the Project Lift digital presence; – providing a diverse range of events and gatherings; and, – continued connections with other networks and communities.

What have we achieved - the 2020 reality.

In the last year we have:

  • worked closely with social care contacts, bringing them into our team as regular collaborators and valued team members
  • worked with our community partners to extend our reach across the voluntary and third sector opening communication channels, sharing development and community opportunities and collaborating with speakers in our events and programmes
  • we have walked with the talent, that is those who have who have come through career conversations and supported them to extend the ethos in their own contexts of self, team and system
  • we have held many roles in engagement –  led conference sessions, provided speakers, led workshops, facilitated teams, engaged with professional groups, acted as mentors, coaches and critical friends – all as Project Lift.  See our On Tour page for more details
  • we have run communication engagement through the website, the app and evolving regular communications, always listening to what responses were provided and building these into our thinking – see our Spotlight On… mailings brought in during the pandemic where we have connection with those looking for a lighter touch in communication – our lively twitter account often providing the medium for this.
  • engagement for all – we have worked with roles from facilities to Chief Executives, from nurses and doctors to project managers and designers, from trainees to those preparing for retirement. You can see some of this from the engagement in our Twitter account.

And we have loved working with the diversity of thought, experience and potential.

We have:

  • provided
    • ethos cards,
    • powerpoint presentations,
    • workshop designs,
    • merchandise

to people in the system running their own events

  • Designed, produced and delivered 250 packs of 10 ‘Your Awesome’ postcards to the system and made these digitally available to send – an extensible way to show gratitude, compassion and care from anyone in any role to anyone in any role, encouraging individual agency and offering the tools for people to do it for themselves  #sendittosayit

Today, in taking a short time out to make a coffee before plunging ahead in to my next meeting, I clicked on the spotlight Friday mailing from project lift. I found my interest piqued, I gave myself the illicit permission of a full 5 mins out to read the linked blog (Corporate Rebels on team culture), and found myself reconnecting to my ‘why’ - why I‘d come in to work today, why I believe what I try to do is important. These emails help energise us, connect us, help us regain focus, remind us that we can make a difference. Thank you, keep sending them!

George DohertyDirector of Workforce, NHS Tayside.

What have we found difficult this year and how might we do things differently?

  • We have only just scratched the surface in the social care sectors and engaging with this part of the health and social care landscape has offered opportunities, learning and challenges.  We recognise the significant importance and value that leaders at every level in these sectors add to health outcomes and good experiences of care and support and we are committed to doing much more to engage and raise awareness of what Project Lift can do.  We received the feedback that our website and communications were often very NHS orientated and we have worked hard with contacts within social care to adapt our language, voice and messaging to be more inclusive. 
  • We have been in real demand up and down the country, in different networks, settings, locally, regionally and nationally.  With demand likely to always increase we want to create connections and extensible offers of support that will be pragmatic and adoptable by anyone. 
  • We have learned that sometimes the best thing we can do is get out of the way.  When the pandemic hit, we spent the first few weeks creating space for those engaged with us, holding back our regular activities and listening to what different groups where saying.  Some wanted more support, some wanted space and some wanted a space to connect with others in our communities and cohorts.  Our Coronavirus Resources site brought relevant resources into one easy page and offered a weekly sort look at what was new, popular and something lighthearted.  From PPE guidance to how to cut hair at home, we were encouraged and often surprised and what what people responded to. As the phases of pandemic moved on, we listened to the change in mood, tone and needs and adapted to step away from pandemic language to more recognisable Project Lift ‘BAU’ related activity and comms. This was received well and has strengthened our resolve to be always listening.
  • COVID-19 stopped us in our plans half way through what we were doing to support our community members to connect, exchange, learn and come together.  Having secured a community engagement series with our technical partners Kaleidoscope UK which would see us delivering four face to face events up and down the country, alongside two webinars.  We did host two excellent face to face events in both Edinburgh and Glasgow on ‘Surviving the System’ and ‘Leaders as all Levels’, welcoming rich and diverse participation from across the health and social care sectors.  We were also delighted to have guest speakers along who really brought these sessions alive with lived experiences and a guiding light to good leadership in practice. We have learned that diversity within guest contributors and speakers is key to bringing a richness in the conversation and also more diversity in those who attend.
  • We have since turned around a refocused and energised plan for moving forward for the next year, based on topics and conversations, hosted digitally for the foreseeable future. We are really excited about this as a fabulous opportunity to listen in, amplify and curate our collective and shared sense of what good leadership looks like and how we can all play our part in continually learning and developing our approaches to leading, whoever we are.

2020 and beyond.

  • Tuning in – recovery phase from COVID 19 – how can we play our part in helping the system to learn the lessons of collective leadership…
  • We have extended our contract with Kaleidoscope UK, our communities supplier to enable more digital events over the rest of 20/21.
  • We have asked and you have responded – #cafeteriatours #staffroom gigs.  With over 15 already in the pipeline all over Scotland these will be fabulous opportunities to meet people ‘where they are at’ to raise awareness of Project Lift. This was a plan for 2020 and is currently on hold till post phase 4 of the pandemic – the response to this was popular and will be picked up again. It has high potential to be extensible for anyone to lead their own tours in their context
  • We intend to make the most of the potential value of hosted conversations, connecting and enabling community and individual conversations with the opportunity to offer leaders at all levels from across the full health and social care landscape.  Initial conversations, plans and feedback indicate there an appetite and an excitement to discuss a range of ideas and experiences openly and with an intention of connection and learning. We want to do this well, do it properly to honour the contributions given and to set us up for whatever the next phase brings to health and social care.
  • Continue to build connections, connectors, host spaces, contribute to existing networks using support where it is requested such as communications support, supporting the set up of new networks for professional or interest groups currently not provided for. 
  • Continue to build on our social media presence on Twitter and Facebook utilising these and other digital events, especially in the context of the pandemic
  • Connect more fully with feedback, conversations and analytics from our websites, mailing, social media and community events. We now have a more effective suite of qualitative and quantitative options open to us to help us listen to understand and engage both more widely and more deeply.
  • We continue to keep connected with the 5 Nations Community of Practice around collective leadership where we have represented Scotland alongside colleagues from SSSC, Police Scotland and Scottish Government. We will host the next 5 Nations event in Edinburgh when restrictions allow and continue to support online events in the meantime.
Community Event Insight

 ‘To connect with others who are also interested in doing leadership differently is amazing – I’m not alone!’ 

“The diversity of speakers is great and its reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one thinking these things, asking these questions or feeling this way.”

Our Community events have been highly interactive with participants thinking, listening and learning together. Inspirations and feedback to date highlight the value in the series so far, with participants celebrating their experience.

A little more on increased engagement

There has been a continual increase the number of people engaging with the website, the app and our events.  Building on this, we have engaged people from a wider range of roles, levels and organisations in our thinking, our events and our design of the website, our comms, the community activities, leadership development and talent management.

More interest and effort to extend the reach of the project lift ethos and to create opportunities for all sorts of people to get engaged over the year has seen an ability to reach further across the country.

Read More - 'On Tour'

A little more on diversity in reach

Reach has also been further extended to leaders from a  wider variety of diverse organisations and sectors who contribute to the health and social care system in Scotland  We are delighted to highlight the wealth of reach to date as shown in collaboration and engagement.

We have held a variety of events for the community of leaders of every level in Project Lift.    Some have been masterclasses, conferences, learning or networking events up and down the country. We also began our community series in December 2019 with our partners from Kaleidoscope; Lydia, Meg and Heather.  This series got off to a great start with over 100 leaders tuning in to the introductory webinar This was closely followed by two face-to-face events, one in Edinburgh here and the other in Glasgow here..  These events featured leaders from across the health and social system sharing perspectives on leadership.  We have had such a wide range of speaker contributors from the whole system that participants found stimulating, inspiring and thought provoking.

With thanks to the outstanding speakers involved in the community series so far:

Glenn Carter, Speech and Language Therapy Coordinator – NHS Forth Valley

Linda Davidson, Associate Director of Human Resources at NHS Forth Valley

Dee Fraser, Deputy Director of the Coalition of Care and Support

Angiolina Foster, Chief Executive of NHS 24

Anne-Marie Monaghan, with her significant experience of social work delivery and as user of services

Dr Mags McGuire, Nurse Director, NHS GGC

Steph Phillips, Director of Service Delivery, NHS 24

Carol Potter, Interim Chief Executive from NHS Fife

Eddie Fraser, Director of Health and Social Care at East Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership

Meg Wright, Interim Manager, Forth Valley Rape Crisis

COVID-19 put to bed our plans to host 2 face-to-face events in the spring of 2020.  Still keen to host spaces for leaders to come together in ways that were meaningful, useful and supportive we ran two discovery workshops here. and here in June 2020.

We listened closely to members of our community, seeking their views and thoughts on what would add value over the months ahead.  The ideas and experiences have really shaped the to move to a digital community series until March 2021.  Five core themes were identified and the opportunity to offers leaders an opportunity to host the conversations they want to have with other leaders in the Project Lift community.  We are enthusiastic about this aspect, conversations that matter by the community, for the community!

See more about our past events

A little more on more community in engagement

We have listened with curiosity and been able to engage in more dialogue with our communities. This has enabled us to understand more of what is valuable for them and a more conversational approach to our decision making, thus leading to a higher level of input from them in design and delivery.  Key examples of this would be:

  • our discovery workshops which proved a timely reminder that we must be always listening,
  • the richness of insights as we go further into digital capability such as the contributions from event chat functions,
  • the combination of qualitative and quantitative data from conversation and analytics respectively – the latter of which we now have improved access to and use.
Read more about Community on our website

Stories from our


For me Project Lift is the embodiment of what matters to me. We are here not just to live but to have made journeys with others through DISCOVERY and LEADERSHIP.

Manira AhmadPublic Health Scotland

We need to give everyone opportunities to be a leader within their own role, their own space to flourish. My experience of successful teams which are really high performing, are ones where we treat each other with humanity and compassion.We share ideas in a space of trust; we support each other; pick each other up when that’s needed; we celebrate success as team. I think that’s so important and at the core of the whole Project Lift experience.

Suzy AspleyNHS24

Collaborating with Project Lift is always inventive, purposeful and full of energy. We have a lot fun in bringing ideas to life that help people achieve their potential and we’re always made to feel like part of the family.

Tim MartKnow You More

I work with Project Lift and it's just a brilliant opportunity to have access to what is fundamentally people development, and about those skills of human beings, and that personal development and that opportunity for self awareness about what kind of leader am I? What Kind of leader would I like to be and what do I need to know.

Susan NevillSSSC
The data

>20 community forums

>50 community event contributors

>110 mail campaigns

>4296 Twitter followers

>5799 regular mailing audience

Powerful data to review and improve the work of project lift runs throughout the year.