Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
How It Works:
For many decades
Rotary clubs and Rotarians around the
world have used The Four-Way Test as an
instrument to develop respect and
understanding among peoples.
How the Test works is indicated by the
Chicago Rotarian who developed it. He suggests that
first you memorize The Four-Way Test and then formulate the
habit of checking your thoughts, words and deeds with it.
The Four-Way Test is now being used
successfully around the world in business, government and
schools as an effective measuring stick for conduct.
It is a guide to RIGHT thinking. If memorized and
constantly applied to relations with others, it will make a
definite contribution toward more effective and friendlier
If you get into the habit of checking
your thoughts, words and deeds against The Four-Way Test,
the experience of others has shown that it will help you
become happier and more successful.
Here is the story of the origin of The
Four-Way Test and how it came to be developed.
Story of The Four-Way Test
By Herbert J Taylor
Back in 1932 I was assigned, by the
Creditors of the Club Aluminum Company, the task of saving
the company from being closed out as a bankrupt
organization. The company was a distributor of
cookware and other household items. We found that the
company owed its creditors over $400,000 more than its total
assets. It was bankrupt but still alive.
At that time we borrowed $6100 from a
Chicago bank to give us a little cash on which to operate.
While we had a good product are
competitors also had fine cookware with well-advertised
brand names. Our company also had some fine people
working for it, but our competitors also had the same.
Our competitors were naturally in much stronger financial
condition than we were.
With tremendous obstacles and handicaps
facing us we felt that we must develop in our organization
something which are competitors would not have an equal
amount. We decided that it was should be the
character, dependability and service mindedness of our
personnel. We determine, first; to be very careful in
the selection of our personnel and, second, to help them
become better men and women as they progressed with our
We believe that "In right there is
might" and we determined to do our best to always be right.
Our industry, as was true of scores of other industries, had
a code of ethics--but the code was long, almost impossible
to memorize and therefore impractical. We felt that we
needed a simple measuring stick of ethics which everyone in
the company could quickly memorize. We also believed
that the proposed test should not tell our people what they
must do, but ask them questions which would make it possible
for them to find out whether their proposed plans, policies,
statements or actions were right or wrong.
We had looked in available literature
for such a short measuring stick of ethics but could not
find a satisfactory one. One day in July, 1932, I decided to
pray about the matter. That morning I leaned over my desk
and asked God to give us a simple guide to help us think,
speak and do that which was right. I immediately picked up a
white card and wrote out The Four-Way Test of the things we
think, say or do as follows:
Is it the truth?
it fair to all concerned?
it build goodwill and better friendships?
it be beneficial to all concerned?
I placed this little test under the
glass top of my desk and determined to try it out for a few
days before talking to anyone else in the company about it.
I had a very discouraging experience. I almost threw it into
the wastepaper basket the first day when I checked
everything that passed over my desk with the first question,
"Is it the truth?" I never realized before how far I
had often was from the truth and how many untruths appeared
in our company’s literature, letters and advertising.
After about 60 days of faithful
constant effort on my part to live up to The Four-Way Test I
was thoroughly sold on its great worth and at the same time
greatly humiliated, and at times discouraged, with my own
performance as president of the company. I had,
however, made sufficient progress in living up to The
Four-Way Test to feel qualified to talk to some of my
associates about it. I discussed it with my four
department heads. You may be interested in knowing the
religious faith of these four men. One was a Roman Catholic,
the second a Christian Scientists, the third an Orthodox Jew
and the fourth Presbyterian.
I asked each man whether or not there
was anything in The Four-Way Test which was contrary to the
doctrines of ideals of his particular faith. They all
four agreed that truth, justice, friendliness and
helpfulness not only coincided with their religious ideals,
but that if constantly applied in business they should
result in greater success and progress. These four men
agreed to use The Four-Way Test in checking proposed plans,
policies, statements and advertising of the company.
Later, all employees were asked to memorize and use The
Four-Way Test in their relations with others.
The checking of advertising copy
against The Four-Way Test resulted in the elimination of
statements the truth of which could not be proved. All
six superlatives such as the words better, best, greatest
and finest disappeared from our advertisements. As a
result, the public gradually placed more confidence in what
we stated in our advertisements and bought more of our
The constant use of The Four-Way Test
caused us to change our policies covering relations with
competitors. We eliminated all adverse or detrimental
comments on our competitors' products from our
advertisements and literature. When we found an
opportunity speak well of our competitors we did so. Thus we
gained the confidence and friendship of our competitors.
The application of The Four-Way Test to
our relations with their own personnel and that of our
suppliers and customers helped us to win their friendship
and goodwill. We have learned that the friendship and
confidence of those with whom we associate is essential to
permanent success in business.
Through over 20 years of sincere effort
on the part of our personnel, we have been making steady
progress toward reaching the ideas expressed in The Four-Way
Test. We have been rewarded with a steady increase in
sales, profits and an earnings of our personnel. From
a bankrupt condition in 1932 our company within a period of
20 years had paid its debts in full, had paid its
stockholders over $1 million in dividends and had a value of
over $2 million. All of these rewards have come from a
cash investment of only $6100, The Four-Way Test and some
good hard-working people who have faith in God and high
Intangible dividends from the use of
The Four-Way Test have been even greater than the financial
ones. We have enjoyed a constant increase in the
goodwill, friendship and confidence of our customers, our
competitors and the public--and what is even more valuable,
a great improvement in the moral character of our own
We have found that you cannot
constantly apply The Four-Way Test to all your relations
with others eight hours each day in business without getting
into the habit of doing it in your home, social and
community life. You thus become a better father, a
better friend and a better citizen.