For those who have not yet discovered TED, this 18 minute talk about motivation in business may make you a TED junkie. In it, Dan Pink makes a convincing case for how conventional incentive pay (or carrot-stick) approaches actually work less well in assignments that are anything other than the most simple and mechanistic.
It seems that incentives tend to narrow our focus, and thus reduce our performance. So in cases where the solutions to problems are in new areas, such incentives work against us.
Work that demands cognitive thought and creativity (which is much of what we face in the 21st century workplace) requires different thinking about how to get the best out of our employees.
See what you think!