November 27, 2023

Generational Differences - A Conversation with David Ringwood

In this episode of OnPodcast Zoltán Csigás talks with David Ringwood, who leads Touchstone Executive Assessment, the former VP of Client Development at MRG and faculty member of IMD. David brings a wealth of knowledge about assessments, leadership trends and research into the coaching world. In this episode they talk about the topic of generational differences: what data supports their existence, what trends are emerging and what does this all mean to the practitioners.

The next guest of the OnCoaching Podcast is David Ringwood!

My next guest in the OnCoaching Podcast is David Ringwood! David is a well-known executive coach and assessment specialist.

Currently, he is heading Touchstone Executive Assessment, a faculty member at the prestigious IMD (International Institute for Management Development), and the former VP of Client Development at MRG to name a few things from his rich background.

I have met David at one of the research conferences of EMCC International as MRG has been a supporter of our mission to close the gap between research and practice.

He was presenting about leadership trends (if I remember correctly..) and I was immediately inspired by the wealth of data he was showing us. And the insight that came from them.

I don’t want to look "data freak" or to downplay the importance of small-scale of qualitative approaches in research, but for me, there is a certain magic in numbers and statistics.

You just have to speak their language and ask the proper questions. For me, this is one of the things David excels in.

He is very thoughtful and precise in interpreting the data and drawing conclusions from it.

This combined with his critical thinking and curiosity makes him an excellent and thought-provoking partner for any conversation.

And for this topic, I really needed such a guest as we are talking about something very important. Generational differences! Here is another confession from me: I have never been a fan of these theories. As a self-proclaimed "good psychologist" I did not really pay enough attention to this topic.

Of course, I can see that with the change in technology and for example the economic circumstances people – children – get access to different opportunities than their elders.

But with that in mind, I always put a more significant weight on the importance of family-level patterns, and individual/personality-level differences in what defines observable behaviors.

Dear reader, what is your opinion on this?

So when I got to know that David has his usual "data-backed insight" on this topic, I have decided to face my own demons and have a conversation about generations and observable differences with David.

Because he does not only speak the language of numbers, but speaks mine as well, so I was open to be changed. Besides David’s story about getting involved in coaching and research, our conversation focuses on exploring the nature of differences and the meaning of these.

We talk about the need to be informed, inclusion, predictability, and achievement orientation just to name a few specifics. One of the things that stood out for me is:

"The trends of change are pointing in the same direction. This may mean that we may be observing a societal-level change through the generations. And where those changes will end?"

As a social psychologist (I can hear you booing, that how come that I am skeptical about generations while I call myself a social psychologist) by training this was a point where my mind started to wonder and started to imagine future societies.

For example where inclusion is super-strong. Or where FOMO is super strong. Good thought experiments!

There were other highlights for me, like whether should we use the calendar approach or the age approach to define generations? What is the practical meaning of this research?

I'll let you explore the answers by listening to the conversation here:

I am happy to hear your reflections and comments! Commenting is available under my LinkedIn post of this episode. Reach the post through my profile here)

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Written By

Zoltán Csigás

Executive Coach
I am a Coach, psychologist, podcaster and Official curious person. Supporting you in reaching relational leadership mastery.
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