Working with Your Twin Brother

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Leadership | No Comments

We bet you don’t know too many sets of twins, and you probably know even fewer twins who not only work at the same company but are also both owners and leaders at the company. We definitely have never heard of this situation anywhere else.

Working together was really not that big of a deal for us. We shared our first job working at a grocery store back in high school and college. Throughout the years that followed, we worked together at times at different engineering firms before both ending up with Sain Associates.

Joe has technically been a Sain employee longer (over 25 years), but even before that, Jim was doing traffic engineering and transportation consulting work for the firm. When the leaders of the company at that time wanted to bring Jim on full-time, they actually asked if we thought it would work for us to be together at the same company.  We knew it would work fine since we’ve always been very close.

Being twins, a lot of times people assume that we’re just alike. While some may find it hard to tell us apart by looking at us, we actually have quite different personalities. Our roles at the company have always been very different as well, although we both ended up as owners and leaders.

When we became business owners together, it really took our relationship to another level, especially as we’ve gone through challenges with the economy in recent years. We’ve had some trying times, but we’ve been able to tackle those struggles together. While these economic challenges have been tough, our relationship has become even stronger, and we don’t feel like we’ve had challenges there.

We have a natural trust in each other and know how hard the other brother works. We don’t have to worry about whether each other’s tasks are getting done or spend time motivating the other to work hard; we trust the work ethic instilled in each other to get the job done. This gives us time to focus on our own jobs, which is a real benefit.

One important thing for us in running our business together is being like-minded in our faith. Also, we share the same business philosophy of the importance of our staff having a balance in all aspects of their lives.  This is displayed by our commitment of family-friendly values in the workplace and wanting to give back to our community.

Some people may think that if you worked with your twin brother it would be impossible to keep your business and your personal life separate, but that’s always been our goal. We have to work at that because we do spend time together in other settings (fishing is one of our favorites), but if there ever was a personal conflict, we would not let it affect the company.

We recognize that if our relationship wasn’t as good, it could be awkward for our staff. We wouldn’t want to both give different directions to a staff member and cause conflict for them. But we have tried to make our relationship a positive thing for our staff and make sure everyone understands what our separate roles are.

Clients, associates and acquaintances being able to keep up with which brother is which is sometimes a different story!

Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Cullman, Alabama, Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.

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