Mark is not content to simply observe and theorize. He does not find much satisfaction in limiting ideas to the theoretical realm. When he sees a need, he quickly unravels the intricacy that the folds in his brain are holding tight. This is the pursuit of creative solutions and proactive leadership. This is creativity in action, where inaction is simply unthinkable and unsatisfying.
Because of this, Mark will often take the initiative and start off on the founders journey. Sometimes being at the front simply means you're the first to make mistakes. And I guess in that way, Mark is unafraid to make mistakes. He is very candid about his failures, and the lessons he's learned therein. The intimidation of the unknown is the challenge. Stepping out in faith, with the assurance that God has good purposes in mind for the days He's given Mark. It is God's perfect love that casts out all fear.
Mark rises to the challenge by breaking down complex problems into bite-sized, manageable and discreet tasks, each with specific intent for procedural precision. The analysis and data models are of no benefit, if the strategy is flawed. This is where efficient design systems, practical workflows, execution procedures, and communications plans are born.
For example, in 2012 Mark compiled a 6 months study of the MSC organization into ~150 pages of strategic insight and recommendations, specifically tailored for each of the five target audiences (workers, leaders, partners, observers, and outsiders), across the six prevailing contexts (secularization, post-modernism, globalization, digital age, information age, social age) that MSC's communications efforts are framed, and the challenges and opportunities that exist therein.
"The research, analysis, and recommendations made by Mark in his 2012 Communications Plan have been helpful, uncannily prescient, and hugely influential on MSC as an organization. As we’ve navigated a rapidly changing world over the past decade, virtually every recommendation made has been implemented to great effect. With Mark’s help, MSC has not only successfully built its own voice, but we have been able to use our voice to encourage and inform thousands of new donors, support many new sending churches with excellence, and serve an abundance of new mission workers around the world."
Jerry Bolton, Communications Director, MSC Canada
Over the years, Mark has found the best way to motivate others is to lead by example. It's easy to be critical and sound smart without providing any solutions, and so Mark - while critical in thought - is inspirational in deed. He doesn't seek the applause of his peers, but delights in seeing others inspired by his passion and hard work, and so he does not shy away from taking centre stage.
This attitude is embodied in his public speaking engagements at tech meetups, or his church and the various youth, children’s programs, and camps he's spoken to over the years. The right combination of creativity, knowing what you're talking about, and passion, go a long way.
Mark is a man of action, who likes to get his hands dirty to ensure that all these ideas find their way into reality, with successful execution. He makes use of a number of strategies and tools to ensure that projects are on time, and on budget, with workback schedules, and collaborative online workspaces such as OmniPlan, Slack, Trello, and cloud document sharing. Mark ensures that even the smallest details don't fall through the cracks. He actively delegates tasks, to share the load, and onboard resources.