In a house with two boys under the age of three, nursery rhymes abound. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is a house favorite of ours, which led me to wonder who had written this quirky rhyme. I learned that it was published in 1830 by Sarah Hale, a rather accomplished woman for her time period. Along with being selftaught (with the help of her brother who attended Dartmouth), a tenacious lobbyist for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday, and a successful writer, publisher and editor who did not retire until the age of 90, she also was a big believer in play and physical activity, particularly for children. In 1829 she wrote: “Physical health and its attendant cheerfulness promote a happy tone of moral feeling, and they are quite indispensable to successful intellectual effort.”
In the world of M&A, we are all in pursuit of “successful intellectual effort.” Perhaps we can use Ms. Hale’s 19th century wisdom as a model for business in 2013 – we are seeing a tightening in the marketplace for “A-player” talent and expect that trend to continue gradually through 2014. Now may be an appropriate time to focus on A-player retention programs within your companies and promote employee “physical health and attendant cheerfulness.”
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