By Pat Taylor, Proactive Technologies March 2, 2006 -- As a young engineer, I spent a great deal of time studying and testing the Laws of Science and Nature. I learned that many of these Laws are not laws at all; rather, they are Probabilities or Rules Of Thumb. Even Einstein's Theory of Relativity is subject to refinement. In a lifetime of trial and error, I learned that --in fact-- there are very few immutable truths. My grandma would refer to the absolute truths in life as Cosmic Laws, and one of her favorites has become my personal mantra. "You've got to give to get." It is my favorite because it is a perfect illustration of applicable Cosmic Law. It is not a law of physics or gravity or magnetism. It is neither cliché nor word play; rather, it is a law of Nature – of yin and yang (in Asian terms). It qualifies as Cosmic Law because it reflects a permanent truth whose beauty lies in profound simplicity. Within the words lies a concept powerful enough to change a person's attitude, or even a company's culture, in a matter of days or weeks. Within the words lies a concept powerful enough to change a person's attitude, or even a company's culture, in a matter of days or weeks. Since I began testing this Cosmic Law, it has become more to me than advice for better living; it has become a strategic tool. For example, whenever I look to increase sales or improve customer satisfaction, I invoke my Grandma's Cosmic Law. If I'm searching for the right balance between price and profit, I remember the best advice I ever received. When I find myself mired in tough negotiations, I am reminded of the wisdom born of Grandma's words. "You've got to give to get." I mention this because I talk to a lot of people in this industry who are hungry for change. They want to change their line of business because they believe it will lead to larger profit margins. They want to change their business workflow because they believe it lead to greater efficiency. But these changes require an investment of time and/or money, and these resources are cautiously budgeted nowadays. Can anything be changed for free? We do not learn by talking, but by listening to others and absorbing new ideas. Look inside your place of business. Have you ever wondered how you can better motivate the employees? Do you ask yourself what it would take to create a sense of ownership in the staff? Recite the mantra and ask again… "You've got to give to get." Give an ear to your employees and get the feedback you need to improve. We do not learn by talking, but by listening to others and absorbing new ideas. Give folks the floor, sit back, and stay awhile; you will realize a return on your investment of time. Ultimately, good people are most motivated when they believe their opinion counts. They dig deep in search of meaningful contributions, and your interest in their offerings will nurture motivated and productive employees. Give the people who run your business a piece of the action and get the sense of ownership you desire. 'A piece of the action' can mean anything from shares of company stock to profit sharing or performance bonuses; there are many ways to share ownership. Your staff will become better stewards of company funds if they are sharing in the profits. Give them a vested interest in increasing productivity and profitability. In return, you will receive a level of effort and loyalty unknown to the ranks of clock watchers and laggards. There comes a time in the maturation of any business when the task list grows larger than any one person. Either that person (and business) suffocates under the load, or they give responsibility to others to get things done. They give to get; they empty their cup so they might fill it again. The 'giving' part might take some practice, but the 'getting' part comes naturally.