Rediscovering purpose

How Tate & Lyle rediscovered their purpose after undergoing a major business transformation

Summary

Challenge: Having undergone a major business transformation over recent years, Tate & Lyle were keen to rediscover their purpose and embed it in everything they do.

Solution: They embarked on a journey involving three stages: discovering their purpose, connecting the business to their purpose and living their purpose. Working through these stages involved plenty of workshops, in-depth research and several well designed experiments.

Results: A unique and meaningful purpose that has already started to shift minds, deliver innovative products and establish new partnerships.

To read the full details, see below.

Tate & Lyle is a global supplier of ingredients and solutions to customers in the food beverage, and some industrial markets. For more than 150 years, it has been developing extraordinary ingredients for its customers.

Over the past decade, they have undergone a significant business transformation. In 2010 they sold their European sugar refining business and focused their attention on using innovative technology to turn raw materials into ingredients that add taste, texture, nutrition and increased functionality to foods and drinks consumed by millions of people every day. Having reconfigured their business, Tate & Lyle needed to reconnect with and rediscover their purpose.

The business case for purpose is well established. Purpose boosts performance, engages talent and unlocks innovation. At BRIDGE we believe that for an organisation to reap the full benefits of purpose, they need to not only have a meaningful purpose, but to also activate and live their purpose in all they do – from strategy to operations and culture, inside and outside their business. Without a change in thinking and being, purpose will only become another mission statement.

Once an organisation has discovered and activated their purpose, they will be able to do good in the world as well as gain a competitive, profitable and sustainable advantage. Purpose will help an organisation drive commercial success as well as meet the demands of the wider society and environment. This is what we refer to as a Purposeful Advantage. At BRIDGE we develop the mindset and capability within organisations to make this a sustainable approach to long term business success.

 

How did we begin?

Our method can be broken down into three stages: Discover your purpose, connect the organisation to your purpose, and live your purpose. It is this methodology that we followed with Tate & Lyle.

We started by immersing ourselves in Tate & Lyle’s brand, culture, industry and history, conducting what we call ‘a dig’ and taking an in depth look into their past, present and future. This research acted as the stimulus that formed the basis of a three day immersion workshop.

 

Discovering their purpose

For the workshop we brought together a cross section of the company: a dozen people in different roles and levels and immersed them in our research and insights. They heard from other organisations who are on a similar journey; from their customers; from market analysts; from people in society who are battling some of the afflictions that Tate & Lyle are focused on combating. We touched on global problems such as diabetes, child obesity and food wastage. The workshop connected Tate & Lyle to the positive impact they could have in the world and the richness of possibilities.

An organisation’s purposeful advantage can be found at the intersection of these three needs and capabilities: Societal needs, Organisational capabilities and Customer/Consumer needs.

After exploring all three, Tate & Lyle were able to form their personal and meaningful purpose: ‘improving lives for generations.’ This purpose was then applied to key areas in which they wanted to make a positive impact e.g. diabetes, nutrition, obesity. As well as working on the organisation’s purpose, we also worked with attendees on their own individual purposes so they could understand their personal role and contribution.

 

Connecting with their purpose

We successfully pitched Tate & Lyle’s newly established purpose to 40 key leaders across the business to get their buy-in. In order to start living a purpose, it has to be reflected in the leadership team’s mindset. This was the first step in connecting the organisation to their purpose.

Following this successful pitch, Tate & Lyle tested their purpose through a series of experiments which have enabled them to understand what their future capabilities need to be and the areas in which they need to invest in order to make their purpose live on in the future. Experiments have included trying to reduce caloric consumption in Mexico and a ‘Healthy eating Happy learning’ course in China. These experiments mirrored our ‘learn by doing’ approach and have already shifting mindsets internally.

In addition, Tate & Lyle also focused on employee well-being, recognising that purpose begins at home. Improving lives for generations must also include those working within the company.

Alongside these experiments, we designed leadership development programmes where we shared tools and capabilities with leaders in order to put their purpose into action. We focused on partnership, agility and execution.

Tate & Lyle are progressively aligning their purpose to their strategy, values and behaviour. Despite these being early days, they have already begun to reap the rewards. For example, a partnership with the Singaporean government has been formed in order to tackle diabetes. And they have witnessed an acceleration in their product innovation with the development of new products that support their purpose.

Rowan Adams, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, comments that the partnership has been extremely fruitful. “BRIDGE has been a true partner to Tate & Lyle throughout our purpose journey, providing us with the necessary support and challenge as we looked to discover, connect and embed purpose into everything we do. We couldn’t have got to where we are today without them.”

Get in touch

We are truly global. Please select your territory below and get in touch with your local BRIDGE office

Further case studies