I came across some interesting statistical observations recently regarding singles , that show that for the first time, the number of singles are outnumbering the people in relationships. While the decline in marriage can be explained through concepts such as risk. Meaning that in the current climate a man can be “zeroed out” as Rollo put it, quite easily if he makes a poor choice in mate, but largely I think it comes down to men intuitively avoiding marriage due to having seen their families, and friends go through bitter divorces. If one watches 9 people jump off a cliff, splat against the ground, and then is told “I’m sure you’re different”, a sensible person would step away from the edge.
From a needs-perspective this is very interesting though, because the needs that are satisfied by marriage, have to be sated somehow. The sexual need can be satisfied outside of marriage for both sexes, the same is true for the need for friendship and companionship to some extent. Even reproduction outside of marriage is possible through the use of surrogates and sperm donors. The one need that persists though, is the same that men have always provided for women, namely provision and protection. Likewise, it is probable that if women could be entirely provided and protected without having to contract a Beta male to do so, they would prefer to share Alpha males.
However, the need to consolidate comes when a women realize that they are no longer commanding the same market value as they did in their younger days, and feels that she must settle down now in order to avoid being left on the market.
The question is, how can women ensure provision without having to make the trade with men?
I use the concept of emergent strategy in the Gendernomics book when explaining and to some extent describing the various ways in which a strategy can form as a sum of individual actions. “Strategy as a pattern” is perhaps the more interesting one, and the one that forms the foundation of the book, “The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning“. This book is a critique of strategic management literature, often based in Drucker, Taylor and Porter, the titans of planned strategy, where the chief argument presented by Henry Minzberg is that in a rapidly changing world, long-term strategic planning is destined to fail. Instead he argues that the interactions of the company with outside forces over time will form the company strategy.
The novel approach by Minzberg was a stark contrast to the top-down strategic planning literature in vogue at the time. In the planned strategy camp, retreats where executives buried themselves in a mixture of analytical work and creativity to determine Visions, Missions, SMART goals, KPIs and strategies for how to move the company to new heights were the prescription for how to build a great company. Minzberg’s position was much more simply that in a rapidly changing world, by the time the executives and strategy consultants emerged from their retreat, the data they based their decisions on may already be outdated. Thus, the only way to “do strategy” in a world marked by rapid change and innovation is to train your staff well, set goals and assume that the parts will form a coherent whole.
I’ve on occasion referred to this as “Chaos theory strategy” in that order is expected to arise from chaos, and the actions, choices and thoughts of potentially thousands of people must align in order for the strategy to be coherent. A key factor of emergent strategy is that it can only be identified when one looks at the development of the company over time, historically speaking. This is a much more fluid way to think about human behavior if one takes the vantage point of extreme macro. Our cultures and societies are shaped by billions of individual decisions, chains of reasoning, emotional reactions and actions taken. Continue reading