So, a few days ago I mused on the charisma of Barack Obama and the need for charismatic leaders to add to their inspiration the dynamic of substance. Inspiration is critical, but not enough to complete mission. Substance of ideas comes as a result of hard research, intentional curiosity, deep listening, and great collaboration. However, even substantive thoughts are not enough. To those thoughts, a great leader must add the brother of charisma: sustainability.
Sustainability is the dynamic that allows execution of great ideas to occur over the long haul.
Execution is critical, but execution that is not sustainable lands a leader and his or her team in the same place as platitudes do: disappointment.
Sustainability requires action to work its way deep into the culture of an organization or community. This is where a charismatic leader often fails, because she is not overly interested in long-term action. She finds her passion in the "next big thing." But, without sustainability around important initiatives, the next big thing, becomes the "flavor of the month" that no one believes will actually be implemented. And that is when charismatic leaders get hurt. They are accused of hollow rhetoric rather than sustainable action.