From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world's most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The 4-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. This 24-word code of ethics for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways.
Herb Taylor insisted there is a lot of good in everybody, but too often we look only for the bad. The Four Way Test encourages the good in person who uses it. It helps people to think right and to think things through before they speak or act. The four Way Test started in an office in the days of the Great Depression as the result of a prayer for help to preserve the jobs of 250 people. Through Rotary International, it spread around the world. It has influenced thoughts, words and actions of countless people, and through them, even government and world events. It is a test for all time and for all people. Try using it on the next decision you face.