In 1932 when Herb Taylor was made president of Club Aluminum Products Company in Chicago, Illinois. The company employed 250 people, was bankrupt — over $400,000 in debt (equal to about $6.4 million today). The country was in the midst of what we know today as The Great Depression. Not an ideal time to be in the hole financially!
Herb Taylor believed that ethical conduct played an important role in relationships. If a company’s leadership and its employees were encouraged to think right, they would act right. What was needed was a simple code or mental yardstick they could easily memorize and apply to what they thought, said or did interacting with co-workers, vendors and especially clients and customers.
In answer to prayer one evening, came The 4Way Test. “Could these 4 questions help?”
He tried it himself for 60 days. (An tough test!) Quite a few of the company’s current business practices did not seem to stand up under this scrutiny. After 60 days, Mr. Taylor, himself a Methodist, discussed it with four of his department heads, by faith, a Christian Scientist, a Roman Catholic, an Orthodox Jew and a Presbyterian. He asked if the Test was contrary to anything in their faith. Each of them answered “no.” They agreed to memorize and use the Test in their business decisions.
Soon, the company adopted it as its official policy for business conduct. He had the Test copyrighted. Five years later the company paid off the last of the $400,000 debt with interest and distributed over a million dollars in dividends to stockholders — all in spite of the continuing Great Depression.
Rotary International liked the Test. An active Rotarian in the Chicago Club, Mr. Taylor shared how the Test had helped his business. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary International’s board in the early 1940’s and became a vital part of their Vocational Service Programs.
Metropolitan Campaigns begin. In the early 1950’s community and citywide 4-Way Test campaigns began. These campaigns involved the active participation of many organizations within a metropolitan area. Often the impetus for these campaigns came from local Rotarians. With these campaigns printed materials and instructional resources were needed to assist the Test’s outreach.
Finally in 1959, The 4Way Test Association was officially founded to provide resources that could be used without the Rotary wheel.
From 1954 to 1955 Herbert J. Taylor served as President of Rotary International. This was Rotary’s 50th Anniversary year. He made the cover of Newsweek’s February 28th, 1955 issue.
Of the things we think, say and 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?