The 4-Way Test is one of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics that was developed in 1932 by Rotarian Herbet J. Taylor and was later adopted by Rotary International in 1943.
I know a number of Rotaractors know this by heart, just as they know the Grace but how many of us have ever asked themselves how does the 4-Way Test apply in real life? What If everyone used the 4-Way Test to address conflicts, solve problems, and make decisions to achieve desired outcomes?
“A problem well stated is a problem half-solved” – Charles Kettering
With a General Elections coming up in just less than four months, it’s paramount that despite our political affiliations, where pro or anti government (or independent), we maintain peace and wade off any version of conflict or violence. It was once said, that what has taken generations to build, will come down in just one day, and this was almost the reality back in 2007/08. Kenya’s is bigger than any one of us and thus at the end, Kenya should always stand to be one, and not divided.
As Rotaractors, we have a big role of ensuring peace in our country. One of Rotary’s core areas of focus, Peace and Conflict Resolution calls upon on each one of us to ensure peace prevails. But with this daunting task, how do we abide by Rotary’s principles of peace and conflict resolution? The 4-Way Test. In every Rotaract club fellowship, it’s recited in near-perfect unison affirming our commitment to abide by Rotary principles, but a good number of Rotaractors are unable to decipher the crucial importance of the 4-Way Test in peace and conflict resolution.
The 4-Way Test is about Empathy, Accountability and Trust
- Acknowledge and define the conflict (the Why & What);
- Identify the interested and affected parties (the Who and How);
- Discuss and Agree on the Desired Outcomes; and
- Have an open-mind and curiosity for new ideas, novel applications and different points of view.
The most difficult obstacle to overcome is the lack of trust. You can rebuild buildings, you can replace vehicles, you can put bridges back up, but the really important thing to change what is in people’s hearts and minds take much longer. Hope and opportunity are essential to political stability and peace in every society. Whatever people’s differences, they want the same thing. They want to get their children off to a good start in life, they want to have a chance for a decent job, and so what is necessary in all of these conflict societies is to create a sense of hope, a vision and a possibility of the future. Without that hope, without that opportunity, peace is in peril everywhere.
-Senator George Mitchell-