Amit Somani, Indian Institute of Management , Calcutta Alumnus — No Sir No Madam decree is the Professional Culture that Indian Organizations Need to Adopt

Amit Somani, the Managing Director of Pictor Diagnostics India ( is bold supporter of No Sir No Madam convention.  Pictor has developed technology for miniaturization and multiplexing of various diagnostic test with – better accuracy, enhanced efficiency and affordability. This patented technology will reduce cost to patients and can revolutionize human, animal and food diagnostics. Currently, it offers diagnostic test panels for ToRCH, ENA, Hepatitis and Sepsis.

Amit completed his management education from IIM Calcutta and Engineering from Pune University. He has added value to clients as a management consultant at Bain and Deloitte, and held strategy and operational roles at Flipkart and Reliance more recently, before Pictor.

Amit conveys – No Sir No Madam custom is what every Indian company needs to adopt in today’s business world.  First-name habit fabricates a cordial relation within an organization for every employee to work.  It forms an equal level playing field, wherein, employees can approach the senior managers without any hesitation.  Like, it also allows the top-level executives to interact with their juniors and get to know more about them.

In addition, Amit opines, “Addressing someone as Sir creates a status quo where you feel inferior.  Whereas, communicating on a first-name basis, instills mutual-respect and parity between two people.  Moreover, a lot of professionals tend to please their seniors by greeting them with salutations.  This lets the employees slack at their work as they are not afraid of the consequences.  Hence, being counter-productive to the company.”

Many individuals in India tend to consider being addressed by their first-name as a sign of disrespect.  Subsequently, they try to force others to refer them with a salutation. Calling someone as Sir or Madam is a wide spread practice in private sector as well especially in smaller cities and towns.  Amit narrates a similar incident that he faced.

Amit enumerates – In my current role I am setting up a distribution network across India to supply our products to various pathology labs.  As a result, I interact with different channel partners who typically have their own business.  Once, a prospective channel partner, who wanted to do business with us called me.  Out of habit, while communicating with him, I addressed him by his first-name.  To which he took a lot of offense.  He intervened and questioned me about my age and how much experience I have in this field.

I replied to him, “how does that matter?”  Later, he tried to belittle me informing me that he is a very senior and experienced person.  Moreover, he demanded that I address him as ‘Sir’.  I told him clearly that just addressing him “Sir” does not mean I respect him.  If he is offended, at most I can add “Mr” to his name. On noticing my reluctance to refer him as ‘Sir’, he ended the conversation.We did not do further business.  In hindsight, I think it was a good decision.

Amit also states —A lot of public sector employees in the metro and tier-1 cities are letting go of strict salutation edicts.  However, this still needs to penetrate in smaller cities and towns. .

In continuation, he shares his insight on the condition of blue-collar workers in India.  Amit mentions, “We ought to give them the liberty of addressing us by our first-name.  This would let them be free from the notion that they are inferior to the rest of the society.  This would also allow them to be more open in their communication with us.  Additionally, they will feel a lot more proud and confident about themselves.

Amit also states that while, we start in professional world with No Sir No Madam, we also need to bring this into personal lives, especially when we are grooming our kids.  Areas to explore are –

  • Can we address our teachers with Mr or Miss or Professor and then their first name. In many other countries, teachers are called with right salutation followed by their first name.  This will make it a culture from initial years in society
  • Culturally sensitive, but, can we call our siblings by first name than addressing elder ones as ‘Bhaiya’ or ‘Didi’

He terminates by suggesting — There should be seminars and sessions conducted to spread awareness about this cause.  The best way is to collaborate with progressive event and host talk shows regarding this cause.  Furthermore, as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility, firms and organizations, too, should spread news about No Sir No Madam doctrine.

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