Charismatic leadership and Outsourcing projects

Often, charisma trumps experience (look no further than Donald Trump). Harvard B-School looked at this in 2002 and concluded that charismatic "celebrity" CEOs can be distracting and, unless spot-on in their vision (example: Steve Jobs), counterproductive (example: too numerous to list, but C. Michael Armstrong was highlighted, though few remember his disastrous AT&T tenure in 2015). Those conclusions are being revisited for the C-Suite, but it got me thinking, don't most large outsourcing projects have a central driver, and do the same principles apply?

A veteran of several dozen large transformation projects, it got me thinking: large projects often have a central champion, does the same principle apply? The challenge is that a strong personality can be a bully and push aside contrary thoughts. In an effort to unify a vision, a charismatic leader can stifle dissent too soon thereby suppressing innovation. Using the Steve Jobs example, strong leadership seems to work best when the goal is innovation and best-of-breed performance. But if the goal is anything short - personal agenda, biding time to tick-the-box and simply get through the exercise, a charismatic leader will force the performance-bar lower. 

Traditional outsourcing is a serious commitment - 5+ years and millions of dollars (which is why Fine Line has developed a more flexible approach - Adaptive Sourcing). What seems to work best are highly inclusive leaders who drive teams to their best thinking. If your outsourcing leader responds best to consent versus dissent, you're at risk (so-called confirmation bias), Best defense are vendor management best practices that are rigorously applied: business case analysis, procurement policies, etc.