A few years ago, John W. Dean III, White House counsel under U.S. President Richard M. Nixon, addressed the District 5670 (Kansas, USA) Conference. The subject of his talk was "Watergate, War, and The Four-Way Test." He concluded his remarks with this declaration:
 

" I am going to tell you without fear of contradiction that had those of us in the Nixon White House who were involved in Watergate stopped to apply The Four-Way Test, even if only occasionally, there would have been no Watergate. In short, The Four-Way Test works. It will work for any issue, if only we are willing to use it."

The Four-Way Test is one of the hallmarks of Rotary. Since it was developed by Herbert J. Taylor in 1932, it has never ceased to be relevant. Its four brief questions are not based on culture or religion; instead, they are a simple checklist for ethical behavior. They transcend national borders and generations. As Rotarians, we should have The Four-Way Test in the back of our minds if not the front in every decision we make, all day long. As we go through our lives at work, at home, and in our communities, we must be conscious of our responsibilities as Rotarians: to speak the truth, to be fair, to build goodwill and better friendships, and to always try to do the best we can for everyone we encounter.

 

 

We must also make it known that we will not compromise our ethical standards. Hanging The Four-Way Test on the wall for all to see sends a clear message: Rotarians are people of integrity who care. The Four-Way Test compresses ethical decisions down to something that can be hung on a small wall plaque. But Past RI President Richard Evans made it even simpler with one phrase: Is it right? In his essay on the topic, he said:

"A large part of all the proposals that are made in the world could easily be eliminated from further discussion simply by asking this one question: 'Is it right?' If it is, we may well consider them further. We may then reasonably ask whether or not it is convenient, whether or not it is profitable, whether or not we want to do it. But if it isn't right, we are wasting our time in asking any other question, because if it isn't right, it isn't worth it, no matter what else there may be in it for anyone."

  Rotarians, I hope we all take this advice to heart and Lead the Way in doing only what is right.

RI PRESIDENT WILLIAM "BILL" BOYD

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