I recently shared a cab with an IT consultant and was asked to explain all about incentives in five minutes. Here is what I said.
"First, people need to know what they are expected to do. Secondly, they need to know why they are doing it. Thirdly, they need to be treated fairly and with respect. That's all the incentive people need."
This only took 20 seconds and I'd pretty much stated everything I know. I grasped to fill the remaining time with some elaboration.
"Monetary incentives typically only play a small part in motivating people. The best thing about incentives is that they force managers to spend a suitable amount of time discussing point one, what an employee is expected to do."
Even my elaboration didn't take more than a minute, so we were forced to spend the last four minutes in the cab talking about Hollywood movies. If this sounds familiar it's because I stole the ideas from Tom Helton whom I interviewed last year. These ideas are simple, truthful and easy to communicate. Feel free to steal the ideas and use them yourself.