The Rotary Four-Way Test was written by Chicago Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932. The company he worked for at the time was in serious financial trouble and Taylor took over as president. He tells the story in his own words:
“To win our way out of our situation, I reasoned we must be morally and ethically strong. I knew that in right there was might. I felt that if we could get our employees to think right they would do right. We needed some sort of ethical yardstick that everybody in the company could memorize and apply to what we thought, said, and did in our relations to others.
So one morning I leaned over on my desk, rested my head in my hands. In a few moments, I reached for a white paper card and wrote down that which had come to me – in twenty-four words.”
This simple, straightforward test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and every relationship with dealers or customers. Using this yardstick, within five years Club Aluminum was a financial success! The test was adopted by Rotary International in 1943 and since has been translated into more than a hundred languages. It asks four powerful questions:
Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?