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Tools | Build a Core Activity Map

Core Activity Map As Michael Porter points out, the heart of strategy is in doing a different set of activities to create a unique and valued position.  So it makes sense to identify the Core Activities of your industry and determine how best optimize them to beat your competition. Use this simple process to help you create a strong set of Core Activities to win in your industry.
  1. Brainstorm the Core Activities that your company does.  Core Activities are the most important actions a company must do to operate successfully.  Examples include: deliver exceptional customer service; invest in product innovation; provide quick delivery service.
  2. Identify the top 4 Core Activities and write them on post-its.  It’s typically difficult to be the best in more than 4.
  3. Write your top 3 competitors on post-its to form the top row.
  4. Go through and describe how well each of your competitors execute each of the core activities.  Don’t worry about wording.  The value is in thinking about what your competitors do.
  5. Now you should have a good understanding of your competitive landscape.  Begin brainstorming how you can improve your Core Activities.
  6. Summarize your improvements for each Core Activity and put them on the last column of the Core Activity Map.
The next step will be to figure out how you will execute your improvements, which is always the hard part. But this exercise give you a solid first step in strategically winning in your industry.