The Human Note in Business

The Human Note in Business

Rotary Means Business Fellowship

Rotary Means Business Fellowship

“The Human Note in Business - has struck a new chord of friendly cooperation”

- So leads an article written in December 1927 for THE ROTARIAN, a monthly periodical published for members of Rotary International.  The author of the article was Edward R. Kelsey of Toledo.  in 1918, at just 39 years old, Rotarian Kelsey became Second Vice President of The International Association of Rotary Clubs, what is now Rotary International.

The general feel of the article was that business owners and those they employ should strive to have a friendship amongst themselves.  There is respect and honor to be had in owning your own business, and there should be just as much respect and honor to be had in putting in a full day’s hard work as an associate of that business.

Edward goes on to say that “those who work with their hands and those who work with their brain should have representation in Rotary clubs to the end that friendship at work can bring frankness and understanding that its as sure to follow as day follows the night.”

As a younger Rotarian, I enjoy looking back at old issues of The Rotarian to get words of wisdom from those who have come through Rotary before me and to read their stories.  One story relating to a trip through Columbus involves going out to get breakfast at a restaurant where the storyteller had enjoyed dinner several weeks prior.  When he arrived at the restaurant there was a sign on the door that stated 

“We do not open for breakfast, but our competitor across the street does and we can recommend the restaurant most heartily.”

What a great representation of how a business should operate.  Surely there is plenty of room for all ethical businesses to operate and support each other, even when we would consider ourselves competitors.  We sometimes forget that Rotary was born out of a need for networking in order to improve business practices.  It was an opportunity for local businessmen to get together and exchange ideas as equals.  We are now blessed to include professionals, male & female, from industries across the spectrum that would perhaps otherwise not interact.

Rotary Means Business is an international group of likeminded Rotarians who would like to see us begin working together again.  We like our fellow Rotarians, we know our fellow Rotarians and most importantly, we TRUST our fellow Rotarians.  I will be sharing more about this group at later time; however you can get involved by following the page on Facebook here: Rotary Means Business - District 6950 

Since it's removal at the Council on Legislation in 1980, there has been no official Code of Ethics in Rotary.  We've posted a copy of the last version here - Code of Ethics.  Perhaps as networking and business improvement return to Rotary we should consider bringing them back as a supplement to the Four Way Test.  The last version of the Code of Ethics ended as such: 

Finally, believing in the universality of the Golden Ruleall things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them, we contend that Society best holds together when equal opportunity is accorded all men in the natural resources of this planet.

We are all on this planet for a relatively short period of time; the fact that you are a Rotarian tells me you want to make a difference while you are here.  Consider networking with your fellow Rotarians as one way to improve your business, to improve their business, and to increase your ever important circle of people you call FRIEND.  Remember, Rotarians are here for each other just as much as we are here for the communities we support.

I leave you with this last note from the Editor of that 1927 issue of The Rotarian.

The first and last consideration that must guide all business policies is “How will this affect human relationships.”  Consideration on any other basis ultimately leads to trouble.

Online reproduction rights for this article are freely granted as long as you include this section and provide a link back to the original.  The author, James C. Holloman is a member of the Rotary Club of Clearwater East, a Director for Rotary Means Business in District 6950 and the owner of Holloman Consulting, a firm that helps small business owners advance their business in a multitude of ways. He can be reached at