After more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be hard to quantify the ways in which we have changed. Our pandemic coverage helps us understand the industry impact, and it seems unlikely that any of our content has been untouched by the unique circumstances that have taken root since the start of 2020.

But so much of that change has occurred at a human level, where many of the lessons emerge from the various conversations and anecdotes that underpin our stories and events. To better showcase these learnings, and provide a measure of insight into how the global PR industry is responding to such a transformative era, this series asks people what they have learned, according to three specific areas.

In the latest installment in our series, we hear from Jim Donaldson, FleishmanHillard's UK and Middle East chief executive, who talks about adaptability, the end of big-ego leadership, and getting married in lockdown. 

Three things I've learned... 

Although we all know it has been proven before, the sheer adaptability of human beings has stunned me over the last two years. Despite everything going on around them, people turned up and delivered for us and for our clients – perhaps more than ever. And it changed within a very short space of time. The care shown to others was amazing and I think I became closer through a laptop screen to many colleagues that I had worked side by side with for years. Geography was democratised and hierarchies squashed. Although doing an all staff call to 250 black tiles remains unsettling!

We saw increasing demand across every sector and service – which does not usually happen – but the importance of the internal employee audience increased exponentially to a brand-new level. As the talent shortage started to become apparent in 2021, this notched up again. As reputational considerations become core to virtually every management decision, the era of big ego leadership also came firmly to an end as communications savvy empathetic leaders won out. Our industry is now firmly at the centre of many of the challenges that organisations of all types face and we need to work hard to keep that position.

I was very lucky in having a huge personal positive by getting married to the love of my life last year after a real “lockdown romance” over 4,000 miles and a six-hour time difference. Many people were kind enough to say that our story was a beacon of positivity in a troubling couple of years. But I also think that I learned a lot about myself too – don’t beat yourself up too much and enjoy those small but important things even more. The first flushes of spring. A cold pint. A chat with your friends. Not much beats that stuff.

If you'd like to share your three lessons, please let us know.