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Rob Squires - tenacity to make work his business

In order to balance "yin with yang", sometimes you just got to say "No". A very simple, but often neglected piece of advice, from 38-year-old Robert Squires (who, incidentally, looks uncannily like Superman), general manager of PeopleSoft Asia.

Robert SquiresIn order to balance "yin with yang", sometimes you just got to say "No". A very simple, but often neglected piece of advice, from 38-year-old Robert Squires (who, incidentally, looks uncannily like Superman), general manager of PeopleSoft Asia.

Describe your achievement and impact on industry.
After 21 years in the IT industry, I have added value to the businesses of hundreds of clients, and have helped others to build their careers in the IT industry. I have hired over 500 people during my career, and some of these people are now industry leaders in their specific fields. I am proud to have mentored these people and to have given them the opportunity to grow their careers in the various companies I have worked for, including my own software house for nearly eight years.

What do you like about your work?
Work is a passion and must be treated as a passion. Our industry requires long hours of its people, and we end up spending more time at work than we do with family and friends. It must therefore be a passion, a hobby, a major interest, something which inspires you, and make you inspiring when spending that precious little time with family and friends. I keep my passion fresh by continually striving to reach new goals, to try and improve my execution each and every day (i.e. raising the bar) and to continually recognize the significant impact which IT has on companies and people.

Do you have a personal business philosophy that you adhere to?
My personal philosophy is to treat the business as your own. When I get up each morning rather than saying I am going "to work" I say I am going "to MY work". It is a must to treat the business as your own. To make decisions which are sustainable, cost effective, efficient, productive, and in line with the business plan. You must show a level of dedication above and beyond just a 9 to 5 job. It's back to passion with smart execution. My values for money and business were shaped out of starting and running my own business partnership in the IT industry for nearly eight years. No business can be successful without strong cash flow and profit. None. The bursting of the dot-com bubble has proven this. All employees must be prudent investors of the company's money.

And how do you motivate employees to feel the same way you do?
This is achieved by good expense control which is driven by the management, and by creating an environment where decision-makers consider the costs as well as the income, both tangible and intangible, when making decisions.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself to be successful?
Success is defined as exceeding the goals and expectations set for you, or set by yourself, continually. Success is also about balancing work with family. I am very successful, except for the latter.

Any role model whom you look up to?
I have had numerous role models throughout my career. Not just by teaching me business process, but helping shape my personality, my interaction with people, and my savviness for the world in general. I am shy to mention some of them; they are industry leaders in their own right.

What is your proudest achievement so far?
Starting an IT software house with zero capital and maintaining solid income and profitability for eight years.

How about your biggest regret?
I regret the private life sacrifices which come with long hours and extensive travel. Family and friends suffer. Balancing "yin with yang" is very important. Learning to say 'No' should also be a priority at times.

What is you favorite form of relaxation?
A casual drink with close confidante friends who enjoy a laugh, [who] do not need "to be sold to", and do not have customer support issues.

Which in your opinion is the best place in Asia to hold a meeting for four?
We in Asia are blessed with some beautiful locations for offsites, as well as some of the best restaurants in the World. Offsite - islands such as Phuket, Bali, Lombok. Restaurants such as The Lighthouse.

Which Web sites do you visit most often? What kind of books do you read?
Yahoo Finance catches my eyeball every day. I like to read books on Asian history (simply fascinating), and Asian architecture. For total mental shutdown, I like novels from John Grisham as well as Asian authors [such as] Paul Adirex and Tan Hock Beng.

More about People: Managing Asia.