MPA Profiles Enable Teams to Build on Success

The following MPA case study was reported in Carol-Lynne Moore, Executives in Action (London: Pitman, 1988).

This case deals with a highly successful publishing group that was both profitable and efficient. At the time the MPA consultant was called in, the company had recently switched from being a family owned and run enterprise to being professionally managed. The new senior team consisted of five men, the managing director and the financial, marketing, production, and editorial directors, all of whom were recognized as national talents in their fields.


However, the managing director felt the new senior team had not yet meshed as a functioning board. In particular, he was concerned that the other directors seemed vague when asked about company strategy. While the managing director was willing to make all the strategic decisions for a while, he worried that this would backfire in the long run, as the other managers would not “own” his decisions. He felt the need to cultivate greater cohesion among his directors, and this prompted him to turn to Movement Pattern Analysis.

The MPA team profile bore out the managing director’s gut feeling, for it revealed that the group was low in perspective, and particularly weak in Evaluating and Anticipating motivations. This meant that, although the team tended to be aggressive in its actions, decisions were made without a sense of what the company mission was or what the long-range implications and results of decisions would be. This weakness was reiterated in the initial team building seminar. When asked to define the company mission, the directors were only able to say that they were in business to survive and not to go broke!

Based on this analysis, the consultant recommended that the team undertake training in strategic management techniques. They followed this recommendation, working over the course of a year with another consultant.

Following this training, the MPA consultant was brought back in to conduct an additional team seminar. She found that the year of working as a team on strategic planning had helped the team grasp their composite decision-making process. Now they were able to formulate actions on their own to cope with low Evaluating and Anticipating.

A follow up study was conducted 18 months later. The managing director noted that clarity about the company mission and the ability to plan strategically had been improved. More importantly, he found that when the team made a decision, it was owned and committed to by everyone.