- October Rotarian, "Ten reasons to visit New Orleans," p. 30.
Many people know Rotary as a service organization. Fewer know that Rotary also encourages members to use high ethical standards in their business and home lives.
Rotarians use the 4-Way Test as a measuring stick for conduct and as a guide for right thinking. Elden Hudson from the Zanesville Noon Rotary Club shared the history of the 4-Way Test with Byesville Club members.
The 4-Way Test has been a part of Rotary since it was officially by Rotary International in 1943. In 1932, Herbert J. Taylor, the author of the 4-Way Test, was assigned to rescue a company from bankruptcy. He decided to emphasize the company’s character, dependability and service orientation. He searched for a code of ethics to be guide for company behavior and policies. He wanted something short that could be remembered and easily applied on a daily basis. All the codes he found were long and impracticable. Finally, Taylor wrote a 24 word ethics code he titled the 4-Way Test.
Company employees began using the code to check their decisions, plans, company policies, and advertising statements. The result—the company came back from bankruptcy and developed into a business valued at $2 million dollars.
Taylor discovered that the benefits of the 4-Way Test were not limited to business. He said, “…you cannot constantly apply the 4-Way Test … each day in business without getting into the habit of doing it in your home, social and community. You thus become a better father, a better friend, and a better citizen.”
What are these 24 words that can have such a transforming power? They are:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build good will and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
On his death, Taylor gifted the copyright of the 4-Way Test to Rotary International. These 24 words are used successfully around the world in business, government, and schools—wherever Rotarians are—as an effective measuring stick for ethical thinking.
Hudson challenged members of Byesville Rotary to use the 4-Way Test on a daily basis. He ended his talk by relating his personal experience with the transforming power of these 24 simple words.