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Rev. Joey N. Welsh: An Ethics Quiz and a Reality Check

Another Angle, the occasional musings of a Kentucky pastor. An Ethics Quiz and a Reality Check First published 10 July 2005, in the Hart County News-Herald
The next earlier Another Angle Small book, brief life, big meaning

By The Rev. Joey N. Welsh

Rotary International concluded its Centennial Convention in June 2005 in Chicago, the city where the first Rotary Club was convened by businessman Paul Harris in February, 1905. During its first century of activity the organization adopted several symbols and programs that have served as distinctive markers for Rotary: the Rotary wheel logo, the motto (Service Above Self), and the Polio Plus program which has provided over a half billion dollars toward the eradication of that disease from the face of the earth.

One other important Rotary characteristic has its roots in 1932, when Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor was chosen to serve as C. E. O. of a company on the verge of bankruptcy. Taylor, who later served a term as president of Rotary International, analyzed the company and decided it could survive if its personnel all united in ethical business practices and began to pull together.

As a teaching tool for quick ethical evaluation Taylor developed a series of brief questions, distributed to all employees as a basic guideline. The company survived the Great Depression, pulling back from the brink of closure. This miniature ethics quiz is concise, comprised of only 24 words spread among four questions, but it has stood the test of time. Initially developed for one corporation almost 75 years ago, this reality check for personal and professional ethics was adopted by Rotary International in 1943. Since then it has been translated into nearly every spoken language and put into practice in almost every country.

Now known as the Rotary Four-Way Test , it deserves to be employed in lots of places beyond Rotary. These are the questions developed by Herbert J. Taylor for evaluating the things we think, say or do:
  1. Is it the TRUTH?

  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?


  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Can you imagine what our world would be like if all of our business, political, and religious (yes, I mean them, too) leaders adopted this test? If this Four-Way Test is new to you, try it out for size, then share it around. I think Herbert J. Taylor gave us a mighty fine gift; let's all unwrap it, take it out, and use it gladly. We could all be much better off if we did just that.


This story was posted on 2011-04-10 16:22:19
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