FIP 97: The Dangers of Being a Corporate Insurgent with Gib Bulloch

This week on the Finding Impact Podcast, we are talking about burnout, corporate insurgency and a mental hospital. This is the second in the series of podcasts that we are covering on burnout and mental stress in the social sector. We are talking with Gib Bulloch about his personal experience of what he calls the ‘event’ when he suffered from a burnout that put him in a mental hospital for 5 days and became the setting of his new book “The Intrapreneur: Confessions of a Corporate Insurgent”. The book is an engrossing read on Gib’s personal journey of burnout, and how he’s turned it into an opportunity for others, to spark a new breed of social activists working within, or about to join, or completely disillusioned by today’s business world.  Gib Bulloch is also the founder of Accenture Development Partnerships, a non-profit arm of Accenture, for building cross-sector partnerships between businesses and NGOs.

On this podcast, you will learn:

  • How Gib first discovered the true meaning of working for ‘purpose’, when he was volunteering with the VSO International in the Balkans after the Kosovo crisis. VSO partners with businesses to attracts mid-level corporate professionals and offers them volunteering opportunities.
  • How this experience led to Gib conceiving and founding the Accenture Development Partners (ADP) in 2001, as a social enterprise within Accenture. ADP was conceived on the idea of bringing business and technology expertise to parts of the world where it is greatly needed but has least access to it, and its business model depended on the three-way contribution between people, ADP and the charitable organization clients.
  • The ‘event’, which became the inspiration of his new book and he quotes – “Looking back, the retreat in India couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’d signed up for an event organised by a group called Leaders’ Quest that would see me spend four days in the Rajasthan desert. The retreat offered a mix of activities – discussions in small focus groups about the state of the world, visits to impoverished villages, talks by inspiring NGO leaders – even yoga and meditation classes. I’d gone to get myself out of the rut, out of the comfort zone – to find new inspiration to break the internal impasse I’d been facing. I got more than I bargained for.”
  • Why social entrepreneurs are more prone to stress and isolation when compared with business entrepreneurs. The jobs of people working towards a social mission are never ever done fully and it’s very difficult to dis-engage like in a regular day-job. This leads to an incredibly high burnout rate in the sector. The Wellbeing Project (an initiative of Ashoka, Skoll and Schwab) recognizes this endemic problem in social entrepreneurship and works towards catalysing a culture of inner wellbeing for social entrepreneurs and changemakers
  • How there is a fundamental challenge at the heart of business today – as the capitalist economic system with its single-minded focus on profit is creating tremendous amounts of corporate workforce dis-engagement and high levels of burnouts. Traditional corporate responses (yoga rooms, gym memberships, etc.) are mere tinkerings, whereas what is needed is a fundamental re-thinking and re-imagination of workforce burnouts.
  • How organizations such as Thrive Global, established by Arianna Huffington, are working toward raising awareness of the hidden costs of workforce burnouts to business and economy
  • The need to imagine another paradigm around people’s relationship with money as most people are trapped in the hamster wheel where they feel the compelling need to have more and more money. Gib talks Peter Kuneig’s ‘moneywork’ and his book that exposes misleading flaws and lies in many universally accepted and unquestioned assumptions about money
  • Finally, Gib shares that he saw in his manic vulnerability a source of strength which led him to write and try and break the taboo around mental health in business.

Links to Resources:

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