The Four-Way Test
Herbert J. Taylor
The Rotary Four-Way Test was written by Chicago Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932. The company he worked for at the time was in serious financial trouble and Taylor took over as president. He tells the story in his own words:
“To win our way out of our situation, I reasoned we must be morally and ethically strong. I knew that in right there was might. I felt that if we could get our employees to think right they would do right. We needed some sort of ethical yardstick that everybody in the company could memorize and apply to what we thought, said, and did in our relations to others.
So one morning I leaned over on my desk, rested my head in my hands. In a few moments, I reached for a white paper card and wrote down that which had come to me – in twenty-four words.”
This simple, straightforward test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and every relationship with dealers or customers. Using this yardstick, within five years Club Aluminum was a financial success! The test was adopted by Rotary International in 1943 and since has been translated into more than a hundred languages. It asks four powerful questions:
Of the things we think, say or do:
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
Service Above Self
Arthur Frederick Sheldon
Service Above Self and One Profits Most Who Serves Best, Rotary’s official mottoes, can be traced back to the early days of the organization.
In 1911, the second Rotary convention, in Portland, Oregon, USA, approved He Profits Most Who Serves Best as the Rotary motto. The wording was adapted from a speech that Rotarian Arthur Frederick Sheldon delivered to the first convention, held in Chicago the previous year. Sheldon declared that “only the science of right conduct toward others pays. Business is the science of human services. He profits most who serves his fellows best.”
The Portland gathering also inspired the motto Service Above Self. During an outing on the Columbia River, Ben Collins, president of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, talked with Seattle Rotarian J.E. Pinkham about the proper way to organize a Rotary club, offering the principle his club had adopted: Service, Not Self. Pinkham invited Rotary founder Paul Harris, who also was on the trip, to join their conversation. Harris asked Collins to address the convention, and the phrase Service, Not Self was met with great enthusiasm.
At the 1950 Rotary International Convention in Detroit, Michigan, USA, two slogans were formally approved as the official mottoes of Rotary: He Profits Most Who Serves Best and Service Above Self. The 1989 Council on Legislation established Service Above Self as the principal motto of Rotary because it best conveys the philosophy of unselfish volunteer service. He Profits Most Who Serves Best was modified to They Profit Most Who Serve Best in 2004 and to its current wording, One Profits Most Who Serves Best, in 2010.