The Four-Way Test (Employers)

I joined Rotary about a year ago and it has far exceeded my expectations.  My chapter (Jayhawk Breakfast in Lawrence) is filled with interesting fun people, we get to start our day looking out over the Alvamar golf course and the programs have always been good, sometimes fascinating.  They’ve certainly helped me get acquainted with the activities and resources of my community.  Thanks to Peter Steimle of Sedona Staffing for inviting me to a meeting.

As a new member I learned the Rotary Four-Way Test – 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?

In general, this test really appealed to me, but I confess I rarely consciously focused on it when making decisions or giving advice in my business.  Then I read an article in the January 2010 Rotarian called “Downsize with Dignity” by Mindy Charski.  Mindy shares some excellent thoughts about applying the Four-Way Test in a layoff situation.  She quotes Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor, author of the Four-Way test in 1932, who credits it with turning around the fortunes of his company paraphrasing, when employers are truthful and fair, and strive to build goodwill and benefit everyone concerned they are almost certain to do the right thing.

At first blush, the test would not strictly apply in a mediation where a key component is self-determination.  In other words it’s not the job of the mediator to decide if an outcome is fair, rather the question is whether the parties agree.  However, the more I think about it, the test could be useful for mediators.  Stay tuned for the applicability of the Four-Way Test in mediation.