Rotary’s 4-way test a key to success

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2016

By Jerria Martin

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?”

One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary “4-Way Test.”

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It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of the Chicago-based Club Aluminum Company, which was facing bankruptcy.

Taylor pondered ways to revive the struggling company entangled in depression-caused financial difficulties. He created a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow.

The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the revival of the company was attributed to this simple philosophy.

The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than 100 languages and published in thousands of ways.

The message should be known and followed by all Rotarians. However, I am convinced it should also be internalized by every person committed to serving others in any capacity.

Selma’s Rotary Club consists of members who are highly intelligent, very business savvy, have a great heart for important causes and practice the art of service.

Under the conviction of this test our Club has served Selma’s communities and impacted the lives of Selma’s people for 100 years!

I know this personally, because they deeply impacted my life.

Just under 10 years ago, I won the 2006 Rotary Scholarship.

The funds provided by this scholarship were a tremendous blessing during my time at Stilllman, however, the Rotary experience touched my life the most.

Having the opportunity to share with peers from the city, county, and private schools was a unique chance to make new friends and having my voice appreciated by Selma’s finest business folk gave me the confidence to excel as a young servant leader.

When I first heard the 4-Way Test recited that day, almost a decade ago, I saved it to my phone and used it religiously throughout my undergraduate and graduate school experience.

Today, I use it as a proud Rotarian and I encourage anyone who wants a successful business, social, and professional life to use it as well.

It is imperative that we are honest, fair, friendly, and thoughtful citizens, that we put service before self, as we unite to transform our city, because there is unifying, revitalizing, and enlightening hope in the 4-Way Test.