Control your own diary. The most useful people to spend your time with will not necessarily be those who make the most fuss about getting time with you.
Listen without evaluating. Everyone will have their own spin to support their agendas. It's best not to commit to a strong view or distinct allegiances until you have gathered all the information.
Write down all your ideas. You will never look at the situation again with such fresh eyes, so keep a record of your early impressions and observations, however odd they may seem at the moment.
Find out what's expected of you. If there's a range of views about your role, spot where the differences are and try to find a consensus.
Behave as you would like to be remembered. It's a one-off opportunity to set the mood that you would like to last.
Don't worry about being confused. It's natural, and the fog will clear soon enough.
Ask the stupid questions. It's your best chance to do so without losing face, and they may turn out not be so stupid after all. If the answer isn't clear, keep probing.
Watch what people do. Pick up any differences between talk and walk.
Uncover 'how things work around here'.
The Mind Gym, www.themindgym.com.