Skip to main content

Learning experiences from leadership cubed.

Dr Kirsty Brightwell

Cohort 1, Medical Director, NHS Shetland

“There is so much to be proud of working for the NHS in Scotland but sometimes it can feel like you are on a hamster wheel and not really making a difference to people. There was a voice in my head saying: if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. I rolled up my sleeves and moved over to the “dark side” into medical management. However, the more I got involved the more difficult it got, the more impossible it seemed. I felt like I was either colluding with a system that was missing the point by focusing on waiting lists and numbers or constantly questioning others’ and my perception of services built around organisations rather than people. It was an incredibly isolating and exhausting experience.

Several lightbulb moments for me came during my first sessions of Leadership Cubed:

1. The only thing I can control is me
2. No matter how physically fit I make myself that alone won’t mean I’m mentally or psychologically fit
3. I am not alone
4. My job is not to fix everything but help others feel safe to explore the problems
5. The “system” which we may get frustrated with is just people
6. It is all about relationships

Working alongside a range of people on “live” work as part of our year together exposed us to ourselves and our behaviours. This was like looking at “the system” in a small, manageable petri dish. Fortunately together we made sense of our reactions

Dr Christine A Goodall

Cohort 1

“Being part of Project Lift and Leadership Cubed has not only helped me to make so many connections across the system, it has helped me to understand how the system works, and that understanding helps you to see how it can change for the better.

The permission to climb out of our silos and learn from the Project Lift community is a really unique and empowering aspect of the experience and one which does challenge us to become better leaders. Being part of Leadership Cubed has also sharpened my focus on wellbeing and resilience, for myself and my team, but also for the patients who we have the privilege to work alongside. As they say 'If we don't take care of ourselves we can't care for others “

Senior Clinical Lecturer (Honorary Consultant) Oral Surgery
Lead Clinician in Oral Surgery
Head of BDS Admissions
School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing
College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
University of Glasgow
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Neil Strachan

Cohort 2

“For me the emphasis on resilience and wellbeing at self, team and system levels has been a welcome focus of being involved in leadership cubed as well as feeling like part of a movement, rather than having been on a course or traditional development programme.

A movement of folk trying to find a modern and equivalent paradigm shift in planning and delivering public services to that brought about by the creation of the welfare state all those years ago - it certainly feels like that's what it will take! Not to mention the fantastic peer support......”

Head of Transformation, NHS Grampian

Suzy Aspley

Cohort 1

Project Lift came at exactly the right time for me. When my confidence was shaken through fear, it connected me back to the personal values and helped restore me to my true self.

The project and the people get under your skin and I realised that we shouldn’t hide compassion, we should celebrate it as a strength and not a weakness. Lift is about balance and finding the best in people and I’m very grateful and privileged to be part of this movement in Scotland.

Head of Communications – NHS 24

Maureen Swannie

Cohort 2

Leadership Cubed is like a sprinkling of hope and possibility in an otherwise fogged disillusionment of public sector working, allowing new relationships, new thinking and new opportunities.

For me, the benefits have been four-fold – my Leadership Cubed cohort became like family and we quickly developed strong relationships in a way I hadn’t experienced before;

conversations based on trust and honesty created the optimum environment for believing that we can work differently, in a way that meets all of our needs;

inspirational speakers, like Katie Kelly, Kate Ardern, Myron Rogers (and many more), provided opportunities to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ how that way of working could be just how we do things;

most of all, the opportunities that opened up have only been possible due to Leadership Cubed, like co-hosting a workshop with people I had only met via introductions from Brigid Russell on Twitter and being part of a Q&A panel in East Ayrshire with Hilary Cottam and Professor Donna Hall – all thanks to Leadership Cubed. I am truly grateful for the experience.

Health and Care Head of Service, NHS Orkney

Alan Wilson

Cohort 2

" An opportunity to collaborate with a group of like minded people who are determined to change the direction of the NHS going forward. I have fully enjoyed participating in the cohort and enjoyed listening to the views and values of not only the people involved in the delivery of the program but also my fellow colleagues on the cohort."

Capital Projects Director, NHS Fife

Cameron Matthew

Cohort 3

“I truly believe that being part of the project lift community has opened my professional life to a richness of personalities and approaches to my work.

To find similarly minded folk has been a revelation as I get to share and listen to our collective experiences. Having linked with everybody it’s great to have that ability to ask my daft laddie question and get a response founded in reality rather than someone’s ego.

I am thankful for this group and the chat and only want for the opportunity to connect again

Divisional General Manager, Division of Surgery
NHS Grampian

Lynn Garvey

Cohort 3

“Project lift has taught me that positive relationships are one of the most important factors to enable change. I have been inspired by the wealth of expertise and rich learning. I have been encouraged to be curious and by doing so have explored how relational leadership can influence locality working in HSCP.”

Senior Manager, Childrens’ Services, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership

Dr Kerri Neylon

Cohort 3

“Project Lift and more specifically Cohort 3 of Leadership Cubed have provided me a much needed lifeline throughout a period of significant turbulence, change and the unknown.

A diverse group of individuals came together in Dec 2019 and over the coming months have become colleagues, friends and a support system. For me they have allowed safe spaces to explore challenges, difficulties, successes and an opportunity to expose vulnerabilities without judgement.

I am extremely proud of those in my Cohort all of whom are leaders in their fields and making huge differences for the communities where they work and for Scotland. An amazing group of individuals who challenge leadership behaviours and have passion and courage for the future.”

GP and Clinical Director Glasgow City HSCP (NW)

Helena Jackson

Cohort 3

“Leadership Cubed has enabled me to connect with a rich and variety resource of experience and a wealth of kindness representing the whole health and care system.

This, at a time of change, not only in organisation and roles but during the current pandemic, has provided access to and the benefit of this valuable and insightful network which has helped me make sense of things beyond my own knowledge and experience.

Throughout, it has been a safe learning environment and extremely supportive with positive relationships that have enabled honest conversations without concerns of judgement and positioning, portraying leadership behaviours to embrace & aspire to. “

Directorate of Planning and Strategy
Scottish Government