Vidhya Abhijith, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore Alumnus — Addressing People by their First-Name is a Great Way of Building Cordial Relations and Forging Parity While Communicating

Vidhya Abhijith, the director of Codewave (https://codewave.com) is a zealous supporter of No Sir No Madam movement.  Codewave works on bringing disruptive digital transformation strategies to life, enabling businesses to thrive in an AI-first world.

Vidhya has received her bachelor’s in Technology from the renowned National Institute of Technology, (NIT) Jaipur.  In addition, she has earned her degree in a management program for women entrepreneurs from the esteemed Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru (IIM-B).  Her resume brags of having experience of working in big organizations like Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.

She firmly believes in respect for individuals without a need for “Sir/Madam”, in both personal and professional life.  She has even inculcated the first-name habit into her firm.  She is a firm believer of transparency and equality in the workplace.  Vidhya states — Effective communication plays an essential role in the growth of a company.  I personally try to drive business engagements that bring people together on a valuable journey, without compromising on equality.  Therefore, I am of the opinion that No Sir No Madam initiative has the power to cut down hierarchies, politics, and petty power play.  It can have a more profound impact than we can imagine.

The major problem individual faces while heeding to first-name custom is that not everyone welcomes it with a positive attitude.  Vidhya narrates, “We have had customers at times who have tried to impose their authority and been demanding.  There have also been times where few clients have been provocative and confrontational with our team.  We have been transparent about our concerns and have gone to the extent of terminating our business with such consumers as we believe in basic etiquette towards human beings.”

Vidhya opines that every firm should instill first-name tradition.  It is highly relevant in today’s age where organizations are adopting transparent and flat organizational structures.  No Sir No Madam creed even eradicates the need for bossy reviews.  Subsequently, encouraging employees to work diligently and not slack by currying up favours with their seniors.

Furthermore, she expresses her resentment towards government employees who enforce salutation edict onto the common people.  She mentions — Officials need to stop undermining people based on their title and position in society.  Bureaucrats are supposed to treat everyone alike.

Vidhya adds, “Implementing No Sir No Madam culture could also reduce the disparity in the society.”  Removing salutation decree would enable people to converse with the workers on an equal basis and hear about their problems.

Education plays an important role in the way a person thinks and acts.  What we learn in our childhood is what we tend to carry forward with us in our life. Vidhya suggests that schools too should embrace No Sir No Madam theory.  This would ensure that every conversation is productive and instills mutual respect.  Every meeting has a mutual benefit, mutual learning.  Teachers learn from children too.  No Sir No Madam, will encourage open classroom discussions.  Hence, both parties stand to benefit through any conversation or an exchange in schools.  Ergo, we need to find ways, wherein students can correspond with their teachers as equal with respect.

Vidhya recommends —We should get rid of salutations from all aspects of our interaction with others.  Be it from application forms or the way we refer to someone while writing to them.  This would assist in imbibing a sense of equality and togetherness.

Overall, she concludes “If we can listen to everyone alike, treat everyone the same way in our minds – Sirs and Madams won’t be required. To get to this level of comfort, one needs to change how they look at their own self too.”

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