Multilingual Versions of The Four-Way Test
How It Works The Story
The Rotary Four-Way Test is one of the most widely printed and quoted business ethics statements in the
It was created by Herbert J. Taylor in
1932. Herb later served as President of Rotary International during 1954/55.
The Four-Way Test was adopted by Rotary International in 1943.To date it
has been translated
into more than 100 languages.
are expected to know The Four-Way Test and to
conduct their business and private lives accordingly.
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The Four-Way Test
Of the things we think, say or do...
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Die Vierledige Toets
Van alles wat ons dink, sê of doen
- Is dit die WAARHEID?
- Is dit teenoor almal REGVERDIG?
- Sal dit WELWILLENDHEID en VRIENDSKAP bevorder?
- Sal dit vir almal tot VOORDEEL wees?
Die Vier-Fragen Probe
Der dinge, die wir denken, sagen oder tun
- Ist es WAHR?
- Ist es FAIR für alle Beteiligten?
- Wird es FREUDENSCHAFT und GUTEN WILLEN fördern?
- Wird es dem WOHL aller Beteiligten dienen?
Critere Des Quatre Questions
En regard de ce que nous pensons, dison ou faisons
- Est-ce conforme la VÉRITÉ?
- Est-ce LOYAL de part et d'autre?
- Est-ce susceptible de stimuler LA BONNE VOLONTÉ réciproque et de créer de MEILLEURES RELATIONS AMICALES?
- Est-ce PROFITABLE à tous les intéressés?
La Prova Delle 4 Domande
Ciò che io penso, dico o faccio
- Risponde alla VERITÀ?
- É GIUSTO per tutti gli interessati?
- Darà vita a BUONA VOLANTÀ e a MIGLORI RAPPORTI DI AMICIZIA?
- Sarà VANTAGGIOSO per tutti gli interessati?
A Prova Quádrupla
De que nós pensamos, dizemos ou fazemos
- É a VERDADE?
- É JUSTO para todos os interessados?
- Criará BOA VONTADE e MELHORES AMIZADES?
- Será BENÉFICO para todos os interessados?
La Prueba Quadruple
De la que se piensa, se dice a se hace
- ¿Es la VERDAD?
- ¿Es EQUITATIVO para todos los interesados?
- ¿Creará BUENA VOLUNTAD y MEJORES AMISTADES?
- ¿Será BENEFICIOSO para todos los interesados?
The following article is reproduced from a 1957 Rotary
statesmen have confessed that their efforts are foredoomed if people lack
respect and understanding one for another. This places a primary responsibility on the individual, says Angus Mitchell, President of Rotary International,
1948-49, to see that his attitude in the course of his daily affairs will build
mutual respect and understanding. If each of us were to use The Four-Way
says Mr. Mitchell, we would begin to make progress toward the solution of world
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 relationships.
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
of the Four-Way Test
(By Herbert J.
Taylor - RI President 1954/55)
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 house-hold items. We found that the company
owed its creditors over $400,000 more than its total assets. It was bankrupt but
At that time we
borrowed $6,100 from a Chicago bank to give us a little cash on which to operate.
While we had a good
product our 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.
obstacles and handicaps facing us we felt that we must develop in our organization
something which our competitors would not have in equal amount.
We decided that it should be the character, dependability and service mindedness
of our personnel. We determined, 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 company.
We believed 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 ethic 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 planes, policies, statements or actions were right or wrong.
was spent in developing four short questions which now make up The Four-Way
Test. Here are the four questions:-
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build good
will and better friendships?
Will 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 often was from
the truth and how many untruths appeared in our company's literature, letters
After about sixty 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 Scientist, the third
an Orthodox Jew and the forth a Protestant.
I asked each man
whether or not there was anything in The Four-Way Test which was contrary to the
doctrines and 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 planes, 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 superlatives such as the
words better, best, greatest, and finest disappeared from our advertisements. As
a results, the public gradually placed more confidence in what we stated in our
advertisements and bought more of our products.
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 to 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 our own personnel and that of our
suppliers and customers helped us to win their friendship and good will. We have
learned that the friendship and confidence of those with whom we associate is
essential to permanent success in business.
Through over twenty
years of sincere effort on the part of our personnel, we have been making steady
progress toward meeting the ideals expressed in The Four-Way Test. We
have been rewarded with a steady increase in sales, profits and earnings of our
personnel. From a bankrupt condition in 1932 our company has paid its debts in
full, has paid its stockholders over one-million dollars in dividends and has a
present value of over two-million dollars. All of these rewards have come from a
cash investments of only $6,100, The Four-Way Test and some good hard
working people who have faith in God and high ideals.
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 good will,
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
We have found that
you cannot 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.
Document 6415 (12) - Feb. '57 - 150M