Thought Leadership: Rotary Club Four Way Test

When I spoke on Thought Leadership at the San Bruno Rotary Club on August 6 this “four way test” was printed on all of the placemats. It was the first time I had encountered it and I found it to be a useful insight for evaluating a course of action.

Rotary4WayThe Rotary Club Four Way Test

Of the things we think, say or do:

  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

As I have reflected on the event I realized that this simple test, developed by Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 to turn around his failing company, was a great example of thought leadership. I had defined thought leadership as the ability to

Discern the important events and trends at work in the present, predict their likely effects, and offer perspective and actionable advice in time to have an impact.

This test offers a way to detect whether an organization or community is healthy. If people are not able to tell the truth, are not fair to other stakeholders, are not promoting goodwill and friendship, and are not seeking outcomes that are generally beneficial, then the organization or community will not thrive.

References for Four Way Test

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