Prioritize and specify the results expected. Don’t be trapped by misleading measures.  For example, if your primary responsibility is to reorganize your department in the next three months and not to excel in meeting sales goals, make sure this is clearly spelled out.

Clarify the intangibles. Often, people are thrown into situations where they are totally reliant on the performance of others, especially in new product development.  Affirm your commitment to perform provided that your associates do their jobs as well.

Investigate failure. If the last person occupying your job failed to meet performance standards, learn why exactly this happened.  Your predecessor, for example, may have been skewered for a shortcoming over which he or she had no control.  Don’t be the second casualty.

Distinguish aspirational from achievable. Who doesn’t want to burst through the sales sound barrier?  Be sure to clarify what the realistic goal is-not an inspiring, vague desire.

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