Tricky isn't it? But I'm sure one or two real instances will bob up into your consciousness before too long.
The dynamic just described, of course, is one which holds equally true in business and politics. Indeed, it seems to be one of the eternal manifestations of human nature.
And this is where Samuel Bacharach comes in.
Bacharach is the McKelvey-Grant Professor in the Department of Organisational Behaviour at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York State.
An engaging and affable character, Bacharach is also co-founder of the Bacharach Leadership Group (BLG), based in NYC/Manhattan, which specialises in training leaders at all organisational levels in the skills of bringing ideas forward from germination to implementation.
Recent clients of Bacharach's include Cisco, SunGard and Warner Music, and BLG material has been used by numerous Fortune 500 companies.
Bacharach will be one of the key speakers at The Academy, an international conference for ambitious sports leaders organised by TSE Consulting that will take place in Lausanne on May 27 and 28.
His theme will be leadership, and the skills necessary to realise results.
Right now in the world of sport - as 79-year-old Sepp Blatter stands on the brink of a fourth term of office as President of FIFA and the new President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, seeks to alter the course and structure of his own complex organisation - such reflection seems particularly relevant.
Bacharach's broad remit within The Academy will be to reflect on the subject of influence, looking at how one can become more influential within an organisation, and as an organisation.
The titles of some of his recent publications hint at his characteristic tone, which is informal, but sharply challenging: "Get Them On Your Side", "Keep Them On Your Side", and the soon-to-be published "Leading to Go the Distance".
"Leadership," Bacharach tells insidethegames, "is to do with the capacity of individuals to mobilise agendas. It's about having the behavioural skills to move the agenda."
One of his main impulses is to demystify leadership, to reveal it as being less about charisma and stirring speeches, and more about attention to what you might term the mechanics of the operation.
"It's not enough just to come up with a great idea," Bacharach says. "We are concerned with what are the fine details. Who do you form a coalition with? Who do you talk to?
"Our concern is making people aware that success depends upon looking at specific behavioural capabilities
"If something doesn't work, you can't say 'Oh, I wasn't charismatic enough, I didn't have the vision.' We want to see people succeed not because of their personality but in spite of their personality."
A key part of this ability to succeed, he believes, lies in being "agile" - both personally, and organisationally.
"Most of the time we are working with organisations that understand what got them to where they are," he says. "Now what they are asking is: 'We need to grow organisationally or we are going to blow apart. How do we keep what is our core mission while incorporating new ideas at the same time?'
"We have been working recently with a large IT company in India whose challenge has been - how do we bring in new ideas without disrupting our core mission?"
The IOC - engaged as it is in a big effort to alter itself through Bach's Olympic Agenda 2020 initiative - has not, thus far, become one of Bacharach's clients. But it will surely be the case that some ripples from his Lausanne talk will break on the IOC shores beside Lake Leman.
"The Olympics is like a big multinational business trying to effect change," says Bacharach.
"From the point of view of the IOC, you get International Federations knocking on the door and saying: 'Look at me!'
"But when it comes to deciding which sports to include in future Games, there is the big question, which is: 'If you suddenly invite every sport out there to join you, then what happens to your core mission?'
"The Olympics have become big, clumsy, clunky. What they have lost is a way of finding agility. When people have that agility they can alter structures and the way things are done."
The more he hears about the details of last December's Olympic Agenda 2020 Session in Monaco, the more animated Bacharach becomes.
"I wish I could have been there," he says. "The question is - what happened after the session? Did someone say: 'How do we take this new vision and turn it into specifics? What are the concrete models we could use?'
"If you have a meeting like that, over three days, you can get everything agreed on. Over three days, I'll agree with you on anything. But whether we will execute all that is another issue.
"My challenge is: OK, what do you need to do next? How do you bring people in? What do you do to make sure it goes the distance? How do I make sure the ball isn't dropped?
"Everyone can sign up to something during a two to three day session. The question is: what can you do to sustain it?
"All change is political. It's about getting people to listen to ideas, it's about influencing them. It's political with a small 'p'.
"You have an idea, you throw it out there - then it becomes a matter of 'going the distance' which is a phrase we use a lot. This is where we use the behavioural skills with which we became familiar in academia.
"It is all about mobilising ideas and sustaining them. That to me is what leadership is all about. It's not about giving a speech, it's about mundane execution. And you can teach people the behavioural skills to be able to do this.
"Part of this is to do with anticipating arguments and reactions from other people, and learning to translate your vision into tactics.
"It is a matter of concentration. Someone like the IOC President, for instance, will have 10,000 other things to worry about.
"I think there is going to be a lot of emphasis at the forthcoming TSE conference on strategic intent. My attitude is - that's fine. But I'm going to spend about one and a half hours talking about the day-in, day-out business of executing strategy."
Agility, of the mental kind, is something in which this academic takes an obvious relish. One of the images he likes to present to the big wheels of business with whom he regularly deals is that of the French artist Marcel Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel".
It is a bicycle fork with the front wheel mounted upside down on a wooden stool. Duchamp created his first version of it in his Paris studio in 1913, occasionally spinning it just to enjoy the movement. It came to be known as the first kinetic sculpture, although whether Duchamp originally intended to achieve such a lofty status appears doubtful.
Bacharach likes to present puzzled executives with this conundrum and ask: "How did he get here?"
One presumes the answer has to do with lateral and novel thinking, and with unlikely amalgamations. It's an odd business model - but Bacharach can make it work.
"You need to approach this challenge of leadership and bringing ideas through at a very behavioural level," he says. "We are not talking about charisma, we are talking about skills in executing things, in a very mundane way.
"Some people believe ideas can just happen. But - do you know who to negotiate with? Who do you need on your side? How are you going to sustain mobility?
"How do you get a coalition? How do you get a buy-in? How do you anticipate the arguments and resistance you will meet? It's about micro-execution.
"Once you have got people to buy into your idea, how do you make sure it goes the distance?
"My whole point is, you could make all the grand speeches in the world, but if you don't have those micro-skills, nothing is going to happen.
"Agility in organisation is what it's about - you have to win people over, then work with them, rather than just genuflecting to a grand mission. Everyone can genuflect to a grand mission. Peace in the Middle East is something I would like to see too. But how can we make it happen?
"Vision without organisation and execution is just hallucination."
The timeless model of the man at the top who won't move over - and it is always a man, rather than a woman - is another which fully engages Bacharach.
"You can often find corporations or federations where, as far as the chief executive is concerned, everyone knows the Emperor has got no clothes," he says.
"If you look at some of these cases, all the skills and talking are being employed in a very cynical way, and they are about keeping power. That is the whole focus.
"And throughout the organisation, people become passive. You see this in all organisations.
"We need to talk about leadership throughout an organisation. If there is no leadership within an organisation, if it's not spread throughout the organisation, there will never be any change.
"It happens in organisations, it happens in politics. You have to look at why people become passive, why the only person being pro-active is the person that is trying to protect their power base.
"The responsibility of leadership is not simply at the top. But most of us just go to sleep. Great leaders are the ones who understand they can't do things alone. For a leader, the question is: how do I get people on my side?"
For Bach, as he attempts to turn and re-fit the giant travelling bulk of the IOC without having the luxury of a dry dock, there are surely hopeful signs. He has always been a details man, rather than a broad brushstroke man. And reports indicate a dramatically raised level of activity and interest among long dormant delegates at the Agenda 2020 Session.
Among those who have paid recent tribute to Bacharach's guidance in the field of leadership is Robert D Manfred Jr, who took over from Bud Selig in January as the Commissioner of Major League Baseball after many successful years as its chief operating officer.
Manfred - whose smart and sharp modus operandi has been compared to that of the fictional Corleone family lawyer Tom Hagen in the Godfather films - was taught by Bacharach at Cornell before moving on to Harvard Law School, and name checked him in a recent profile on ESPN.com written with enormous panache by Jerry Crasnick.
The Hagen analogy was raised in a profile on Grantland.com by writers Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts. "Like Hagen," they write, "Manfred can be a cunning attorney who specialises in the Machiavellian aspect of running an organisation that relies on uneasy alliances between powerful bosses."
That is a description that chimes in with Bacharach's thinking.
"In sports you cannot get anything done without some sort of coalition," he says. "In US sports, for instance, you have to look at how you coalesce team owners when you are the Commissioner.
"What model of leadership are you bringing to an event, and to what degree is that model generic enough?
"How does it fit with what you are trying to do, and how can it ensure continuing progress?"
Among the recent articles on the BLG's site, www.bacharachleadership.com, are two pieces comparing the innovative style of The Beatles with that of The Rolling Stones.
The Beatles, for Bacharach, exemplify pure creative instinct, a willingness to borrow different styles, to collaborate and experiment with a range of new techniques. He sees their innovative style as essentially introspective.
The Stones are praised for their rebellious look - no band suits for them - their adaptability - bye bye Brian, hello Mick; bye bye Mick, hello Ronnie - their work rate, particularly under dire financial pressure, and perhaps most importantly their longevity.
The Stones, in Bacharach's opinion, are all about "transformational innovation" - and offered the choice, he picks them above the Fab Four.
"Any group that has managed to keep going so long are my heroes," he says with a chuckle. "If the Stones are still out there, there's hope for the rest of the world."
It's no surprise really. Who more than Mick Jagger exemplifies - both physically and in business terms - the agility that Bacharach so strongly promotes?
*insidethegames is the exclusive media partner of The Academy.
You can find full details of the programme by clicking here.
To register click here.