Psychologist Kurt Lewin taught us that our actions are influenced by two opposite powers: helping forces and hindering forces. Helping forces drive us toward our goal. Conversely, hindering forces restrain and block us. A helping force is you pressing the gas pedal to try to make the car go faster. A hindering force is the air resistance experienced by the moving vehicle.

The same way a car's speed is a result of helping and hindering forces, our behavior is a result of the forces that drive us and forces that restrain us.

If we want to align our behavior with our goals, we can increase the helping forces or reduce the hindering forces. The natural, but less effective, way is to try to increase helping forces – to use more arguments, incentives, and threats in order to change behavior. The more powerful approach is to change the environment and remove blocks and restraints.

Instead of asking how can I get this person do something, you ask why aren't they already doing it. If you struggle with bad documentation, don't ask how you can get your team to keep the docs more up-to-date. Instead, ask why isn't documentation already a priority for them.

It's unintuitive but it makes us focus on the environment around us.