How do I practice corporate “self-defense” when first entering a senior role?

When you first enter a company regardless if you are senior or not, you are absolutely vulnerable and defenseless.

You dont know how things work, who to trust, or have any friends.

If anyone has it out for you or people dont cooperate youre screwed.

The advice i hear is to always start with a purge and replace with loyalists but I dont want to ruin lives.

Id prefer to accrue goodwill and loyalty over time but demands from management will always be immediate.

So my question is, how do i defend myself in a new senior position when I need to rely on people I do not know?

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