Aparna Ranadive: Time to Change the Workplace Dictionary for Equal Footing

Aparna Ranadive, an entrepreneur and senior HR professional from Mumbai vehemently believes that Sir/Madam culture should be eliminated.  At present, she is the CEO of Practical Magic Advisory Services & Solutions that aims at creating a difference and adding value to People and Organizations at large.

Aparna has received multiple awards for her contribution to the HR domain, from both industry and academia.  She has over 23 years of Human Resource and consulting experience in various domains.  Aparna has held key leadership positions at Sony Entertainment, Hyper CITY Retail (India) Ltd., etc.  She received her education from Indian School of Business and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.

Aparna indicates that diverse sectors of society work differently.  There are a few divisions where individuals address each other with their first name regardless of their rank and position.  When she was working with Bluestar Ltd, she mentioned, “Everyone used to call even our chairman with his first-name –Ashok instead of Sir.”

When we address others as Sir/Madam, we involuntarily bring about a difference and establish a hierarchy.  Although, there are certain individuals accompanied with dissimilar mindsets.  They do feel offended if not addressed with Sir/Madam.

Aparna revealed, that communicating with government authorities needs to be handled differently.  Since they are used to being addressed as Sir/Madam, using anything different could be taken as crossing the line or disrespecting position.

Likewise, the juniors would have the capacity to associate better with their seniors if they adopt No Sir No Madam culture.  Working as a team would be significantly more viable for an organization.  It would also reduce workplace discrimination, to some extent.

Aparna enunciates that it is the superlative initiative to make people understand that Sir/Madam is an obstruction.  Changing the mindset of people overnight is easier said than done.  Right from an early age, we are taught to address our elders as Sir/Madam.  Other countries are following the culture of addressing their professors as Mr./Mrs./Ms./first name, instead of calling them as Sir/Madam.  We could also adopt this culture.

Overall, Aparna recommends people should start considering each other as colleagues and partners, irrespective of the hierarchy they belong to.  Additionally, she agreed that banning Red Beacon ended a privilege that was viewed as a vital status symbol.  Thus, to some extent, this supports ‘No Sir No Madam’ cause.

As J.M. Darhower said, “Change doesn’t happen overnight.  There’s no button that is pushed to magically alter everything. Change happens little by little. Day by day.Hour by hour.”  Therefore, we must begin embracing the progressive and dynamic ‘No Sir, No Madam’ culture. By creating awareness among masses, there will surely be a reform in the long haul.  A small change in the society will prompt sensation.

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