Akkas and Annas first!

You would have heard this debate many times…customers first or employees first?

I would say Akkas and Annas first. That is brothers and sisters first!

In our organization, our delivery team is based in Trichy a beautiful city in the state of Tamil Nadu (in India) and the culture here in Tamil Nadu is to address your team mates as Akka (sister) or Anna (brother). What a beautiful culture! You will not find this anywhere in the world, where you call your team mates at work as Akka (sister) or Anna (brother).

This culture of addressing people as sisters and brothers at work and in general social situation is a culmination of a civilized and refined culture which is at least 3000 years old.

We spend most of our waking hours at work and we spend more time with our team mates at work compared to our own family members. So no wonder addressing your team mates as Brothers and sisters is very appropriate in any organization including ours. I would urge international companies and MNCs including — Google, Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, Amazon, Walmart, Toyota, Ford and Facebook — to study and adopt this beautiful work culture.

When Swami Vivekananda addressed the international gathering at Chicago as ‘Sisters and Brothers of America’, there was a great ovation.


If our team mates are brothers and sisters, who are then customers?

Customers, I would say are guests.

How do you treat a guest when they visit your home? You treat them well. You treat them great. At home, together, as brothers and sisters, we treat guests as god.

Atithi Devo Bhava is the essence of the host-guest relationship in India. Atithi Devo Bhava means guest is akin to god and is one of India’s most ancient maxims. And only when you treat your guests well, you will have frequent guests and they will feel like visiting you again and again.

As a group of brothers and sisters, when we meet and serve our guests at home, we do not ask if the guest at home come first or we come first. Brothers and sisters are first as long as there is no guests and when a guest arrives, guest is treated with all love and care and he too becomes first.

Some time back, Tourism Department of India, came out with a campaign called Atithi Devo Bhava to attract and to improve the number of tourists traveling to India. This campaign said tourists will be treated like kings or gods.

Tourism is important for economy and culture. It helps people to see each other and understand different cultures and promotes international harmony. Now, just because Tourism Department is saying they will treat tourists like god, does it mean Indian citizens or the team that is part of Tourism Department are secondary. They are not. In fact it is the entire team at Tourism department saying in one voice Atithi Devo Bhava, the same way we all receive and treat guests at home.

But guests are temporary. They come and go. Today we will have one guest and tomorrow a different set of guests. It is brothers and sisters who are permanent. Guests do not make up a family. Brothers and sisters do.

Brothers and Sisters should come first! When we have guests we will together say Guest first and treat them well. Because having frequent guests and repeated guests makes life interesting and meaningful — both at home and at work.


The author, Muthu Ramalingam is one of the brothers (Anna) at www.dexpatent.com and www.helloleads.io . Be an Akka or Anna and be part of #DexPatent and #HelloLeads.io to experience interesting and meaningful work and life cultures.