Origin of the 4 Way Test 

In 1932, Herbert J. Taylor set out to save the Club Aluminum Products distribution company from bankruptcy. He believed himself to be the only person in the company with 250 employees who had hope. His recovery plan started with changing the ethical climate of the company. He explained: The first job was to set policies for the company that would reflect the high ethics and morals God would want in any business. If the people who worked for Club Aluminum were to think right, He knew they would do right. What was needed was a simple, easily remembered guide to right conduct - a sort of ethical yardstick- which all of us in the company could memorize and apply to what we thought, said and did. He searched through many books for the answer to his need, but the right phrases eluded him, so he did what he often do when in problem. He turned to the One who has all the answers. He leaned over his desk, rested his head in his hands and prayed. After a few moments, he looked up and reached for a white paper card. Then he wrote down the twenty-four words that changed the history and became synonyms to Rotary evolution.

  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?

It is called "The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do.

First testing it out on himself, he realized that the first question, "Is it the truth?" was barely applied in his business' day-to-day operations. After 60 days, Herbert J. Taylor decided to share those principles with the four department directors of his company (*each had a different religious faith*). Those four directors validated his principles, and rolled it out company.

In 1932, Taylor's company was on the edge of bankruptcy. 20 years later, by applying the Four-Way Test, the company repaid its debts, generously paid its shareholders.