Hitesh Gautam, the director of FieldTripers enthusiastically supports No Sir No Madam. FieldTripers is an experiential learning company which creates and designs programs that enable students to learn through exploration, curiosity and active participation.
Hitesh completed his graduation in Industrial and Production Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. Moreover, he also received his MBA from the renowned Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow. After completing his studies, he joined Asian Paints where he worked at various roles in sales and marketing. However, his calling was somewhere else.
He noticed a gap in the way experiential learning was imparted in our education system which he thought he had a solution for. He co-founded FieldTripers to make education enjoyable, using his own ideas.
Based on his professional experience, Hitesh states — Every Indian is brought up in a similar manner, i.e. to respect elders and constantly use salutations to address anyone older than us. I think No Sir No Madam is an important initiative as it instills mutual respect and helps break down communication barriers.
In addition, he shares his two cents over the dominantly prevalent Sir/Madam culture. Hitesh remarks “In a company, you will find people of different age group. What I have noticed is that it is easier to communicate with people from your same age group on a first-name basis.
However, it is extremely difficult to address when you are communicating with someone who is in their late 40s or 50s. This is not their fault, as they have continued to work in a mandatory salutation custom for years. Nonetheless, I believe instilling No Sir No Madam ideology can be simpler, if the top-level executives take the initiative to implement it.”
Hitesh has ensured to follow a salutation ridden in his organization. He believes teaching your employees can be simpler and effective when there is no communication barrier. Moreover, interacting on a first-name basis helps the employees as well to express their views and opinion.
Hitesh adds, “instilling a fresh idea has to be a perpetual cycle as people take time to adapt to a change… I remember whenever we hire a new employee; he/she is always hesitant to address us by our first-name despite our constant efforts. Therefore, it has to be a ceaseless routine that is encouraged by the top-level executives.
Along with the private sector, the government sector is where the Sir/Madam edict is much more prevalent. Hitesh opines — I have seen that a lot of government offices do not have the name of the designated person’s name mentioned. Consequently, people start referring to the bureaucrats as Sir/Madam without even asking for their names.
This in turn creates a status-quo from the get to go, which makes it easier for the government officials to display their authority. Then you have to compulsorily greet them with a salutation just to get your work completed.
Therefore, it is important for people to understand that respect can be displayed without having to bow down to someone’s authority. One way to educate people is by instilling No Sir No Madam doctrine in colleges where students are mature enough to understand its nuances, suggests Hitesh. He adds, “I also think letting go off an age-old habit is not going to happen overnight.
Thus, you can begin by addressing people by their last-name followed by Mr/Mrs. I reckon this will be a more effective way to instill No Sir No Madam Initiative. Hitesh concludes — Treat your employees with mutual respect, which will help you to increase their efficiency and in turn help the organization to succeed.