I Love Lucy (snicker)! She was a strong female television character, and business woman, long before it was in our consciousness that there weren’t so many of those.
If you had the opportunity to watch any of the old I Love Lucy shows, you might remember the time Lucy and Ethel, her faithful sidekick, got jobs in a chocolate factory. (If you are too young to have seen it, click on the picture and catch the must-see clip over on YouTube).
Needless to say, Lucy and Ethel didn’t last more than a day at the factory. They truly were not good matches for the job. Let’s concentrate on Lucy and explore why she failed.
Lucy was a fiery redhead who made quick decisions with very little information and who loved being in front of people. She was married to a Cuban band leader and club owner who she was always trying to manipulate. Fast on her feet, Lucy was fine with rapid change and was awful at following rules.
In the world of behaviors analysis, Lucy had a DISC profile that probably looked like this: High D (dominance), High I (influence), low S (steadiness), and low C (compliance).
And with that, they put her on an assembly line!
Assembly lines are the very essence of following rules and procedures (High C), and of coping with sameness (High S). What a mismatch.
But let’s take it a step further and think about Lucy’s motivators, what drove her to action. Lucy was forever looking for ways to perform in Ricky’s club shows. She dressed well, and like to be surrounded by beautiful things. She also tried her best to be in charge wherever she was. So, Lucy seemed to be driven by form, beauty, and experience (Aesthetics) and by position and power (Individualistic).
Again, an assembly line … really? Unless her position on the assembly line gave her a view of the mountains, or allowed her to boss around everyone else on the line, this wasn’t meeting her needs.
A better fit would have been someone who appreciates systems, or who can see the direct result of the investment of their time.
Finally, let’s look at the soft skills that job required versus what Lucy brought to the table. The job would be best served with someone strong in self-management, personal effectiveness, teamwork, and goal orientation. Lucy, however, was more likely high in creativity and innovation, persuasion, negotiation, and futuristic thinking.
All of these are great skills, but the job needed the first set, not Lucy’s set.
Lucy was never the right person for the job. Because of that, what did this bad hire cost the candy company (in addition to the candy she ate)? At a minimum, there was likely recruiting time, onboarding time, training time, and then the downtime that will happen when they fire her and have to go through the entire process all over again.
The take-away is that you can prevent bad hires like this by knowing what a job needs. To do that, create a job profile. That is one tool that will pay for itself over and over again.