When I was appointed the 20th president of the University of California, I was a nontraditional choice. My background is in law and public service, not higher education.
I believe my selection was, in good measure, a result of my experience running large, complex institutions such as Homeland Security, the third-largest department of the federal government, and the state government of Arizona.
I knew my learning curve at UC would be steep. But I have faced steep learning curves before and found that the upward trajectory can be accelerated by taking a couple of key steps.
The first is to dive into the budget, the most direct road map to what truly matters to an organization. It shows where opportunity for new priorities or fresh initiatives might lurk.