(It’s a Cart and Horse Situation is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
It’s a Cart and Horse Situation
What started as a warning to those getting ahead of themselves or doing things in the wrong order (“don’t’ put the cart before the horse”) has morphed most often into a lazy, throwaway line to indicate the scheduled implementation of a plan is backwards or some of the steps are in the wrong order.
Saying it’s a cart and horse situation is the annoying manager’s way of telling you your strategy is somehow wrong. Without, of course, explaining why he feels this way or what you can do to remedy the situation.
Moreover, by telling you it’s a cart and horse situation, he’s basically saying that only an imbecile like you would try do something so obviously backwards as to put the cart before the horse. After all, even a child knows the cart goes behind the horse.
This saying, by the way, has nothing remotely in common with “it’s a chicken and egg thing” (which is annoying, but not annoying enough to make the cut for this book). The chicken/egg comparison relates specifically to the debate about which of two things came first.
When you’re dealing with a cart and a horse, there is no debate… it’s a cart and horse situation.
Replacement phrases: The replacement for this one is to simply explain – in human terms – what you mean. Mangled idioms are annoying, unnecessary, and less effective than using plain language to drive the results you want.
See also: Go Slow to Go Fast
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon