There is a saying in medicine that ninety percent of one's practice is keeping the patient comfortable while the disease runs its course. In other words: stalling. Many non-medical problems are self limiting: software manufacturers routinely choose not to fix bugs in their products, preferring instead to offer an "upgrade" which promises that the old bugs will be fixed. Once again, stalling is the hero.
Of more interest to readers of this paper is what one ought to do about those nagging waves of technology and process that frequently crash into the shores of corporate America: TQM, CQI, function point analysis, Meyers-Briggs, Personalysis. Managers may know from experience that these ideas will be more of a spray than a tsunami. Most people know that no matter what happens to the "program," anyone could be remembered as the person who stood in the way.
So what does one do?
If twelve step programs work for alcoholics, gamblers, and sexual special interests, the approach can surely be adapted to mere work and its problems.  We know that one can't make progress until one admits that she has a problem, so we must all resist the temptation to use the ostrich's technique for stalling. Stalling can be an activity unto itself; a career path. The reader should not associate stalling with mere inactivity. Even the doctor hands out pain medication to keep patients comfortable while they have the flu.
The Twelve Steps
Step 1: Call a meeting and avoid unrest by assigning the zealots to the cause. It is best to do this in a large public forum. Justification? It is easier to keep an eye on the agents of change if they are all in one place.
Step 2: Give "them" enough budget and enough staff that they can make slow, but inconsequential progress. Sometimes dragging one's feet costs a bit of money, but consider the costs if there were to be real change. Also, by giving the enemy even a small amount of money, one can eat up some of the zealots' enthusiasm with their need to do some real world activities like tracking costs. There is a side benefit: it will be easier for the boat rockers to attract still other wanna-be zealots to the cause.
Step 3: Constantly request more data and more studies to be given to management. As George Bush, Sr., once said "I care."  Sure, it is hot outside, but global warming needs to be studied so that we can put our very best people on the task. Once again, real progress will be slowed by the need to constantly provide new data.
Step 4: Now we get to the need for some subtlety: Divert attention by sending the zealots to discuss their ideas with the people who are responsible for the status quo. In some companies, this is called "buy-in." In others it is called "participating in a culture of consensus."
Consensus and change are mortal enemies! It is paramount that the zealots not be able to make progress too quickly, otherwise they will attract converts to their cause, not just other zealots.
Step 5: If a little buy in is good, more is surely better. Request an ever increasing perimeter of buy-in. It is difficult to get a significant number of people to even agree on what to eat, or what time the meeting's pizza ought to arrive: even 11:30 and 12:00 are unlikely to be resolved by suggesting 11:45. By expanding the required buy-in, a talented manager may intensify the loss of momentum.
Step 6: Now that the zealots have sought buy in, it is time to turn the tables: Frequently mention roles and responsibilities. This is a bit of a CYOA tactic because it is a virtual certainty that almost any idea (good or not) can be injured by either talking of roles and responsibilities or buy in. Suggest to the group of zealots that they reorganize, and clearly define their roles and responsibilities for the difficult crusade that lies ahead.
Step 7: This step represents both the halfway mark, and a change in tactics from passive to active. Perhaps the most important thing is to resist any temptation to criticize the agents of change. Instead, refute new ideas with arguments centered around lack of "organizational maturity." Nothing deflects criticism of executive actions quite as well as saying that the idea is good, but the organization is not up to carrying forward.
Step 8: Search for experts. Almost by definition, any new idea is not going to have a significant number of people who are experienced practitioners. We are reminded of advertisements in the San Jose Mercury News during 1997 looking for people with five years of experience in Java.  Subject matter expertise sounds like something that is needed, even if it really unneeded and impossible.
Step 9: There is some chance that this step may be skipped. It is also possible that the project's members may be stronger than thought. So, force the zealots to distinguish their efforts from the ones already in the works before proceeding, even if it is known that the distinctions are trivial. i.e., play dumb. A request for proof of the uniqueness of an idea is always a good tactic, since it can't be done.
Step 10: In all likelihood, there are multiple objections to the vector of change. It is important that one never appear to side with vocal opponents, but in the interests of fairness, give them a full public forum. Appearing to be even handed is crucial, and will actually help the eventual refutation. If one is fortunate, it may appear that the argument against the new idea is so powerful it has actually changed a leader's mind! Henry Kissinger describes this technique at length in his book on his White House years as Richard Nixon's Secretary of State. 
Step 11: Success (or is it failure?) is almost at hand. Carefully avoid appearing to endorse anything personally so that one can be promoted along with all the other non-participants. Having a project commit suicide on one's watch is not that big a deal, but murder is a crime even in corporate life. If it has not already been done, assign ownership and responsibility ... modestly deny all proposals are one's own, whether pro or con. After all, there is no greater abdication of management responsibility than assigning ownership.
Step 12: Once everyone is near exhaustion, it is time to act with mercy. Call a meeting to cancel the effort because it has been researched thoroughly and it has been discovered that it just won't work. Rather than allow a cause to be determined by the rumor mill, be sure to ascribe one directly. Good options are because the organization
(a) is different, or ...
(b) is too young, or ...
(c) has a unique culture, etc.
Blaming the organization while preserving its culture generally produces good results. Additionally, running the corporate culture up the flag pole makes it hard for even dedicated agents of change to not appear treasonous.
In a final act of compassion, one has the opportunity to provide for a Diaspora that finds homes for the zealots ... in other departments.
The Red Queen, from Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 2, by Lewis Carroll.
Ernest Kurtz, Not-God, a History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Hazelden-Pittman, 1998. ISBN: 0894860658.
George Bush, Sr., speaking to employees of an insurance company during the 1992 New Hampshire primary.
San Jose Mercury News, January 12, 1997, Classified Advertisements.
Henry Kissinger, The White House Years, Little Brown & Company, 1979; ISBN: 0316496618.