These two leaders stepped into their top jobs at a time of enormous challenge: worried workers, scarce resources, demanding customers. Here's their approach to passing today's tough test and setting the agenda for the future.

WHO Susan Lyne
TITLE President, ABC Entertainment
HOME BASE New York and L.A.

Whenever someone comes into a new position of management, there is an opportunity to break old habits. As president of ABC Entertainment, my top priority is getting the younger creative people at the network to feel comfortable speaking up. In general, the TV industry is very quick to blame and very slow to celebrate the work and the people behind it.

In the past, the impulse here has been to pick up pilots that management loved - things that were just plain well-written. But as I've reviewed our lineup, I've realized that we can't be that diffuse anymore. We need to find the gaps in our schedule, identify categories of viewers that we're missing, and force everyone to address those needs as we read the material coming in. We do have a real challenge ahead of us right now: We haven't launched a big new franchise since The Practice, and that was six years ago.

It's important to remind everybody of our great tradition while also sending the message that having a little bit of startup mentality will make us all work harder and be more excited about the task at hand.

SUSAN LYNE took the reins at ABC Entertainment in January 2002. Prior to accepting the position, she was responsible for ABC's TV movies and miniseries division.

WHO Ron Sargent
TITLE CEO, Staples, Inc.
HOME BASE: Framingham, Massachusetts