What Should HR Leaders Focus On In 2014?



The main focus for most organizations in 2014 should be on talent management and talent development, particularly the managerial and technical roles that are the difference makers.  One of the major reasons to focus on talent is that it is a great way to get the HR function into a broader discussion about what is next for the organization and what the business strategy should be. Positioning the HR function and talent management to contribute to the overall effectiveness and financial performance of the organization is the best way the HR function can add value to corporations.

The most important thing that HR should focus on in talent management is assessing the skills the organization needs to implement its strategy and the plan for recruiting and managing that critical talent. It is important to understand what the organization can do to add the right talent: Whether it is best recruited or best internally developed, and whether it is even possible to develop the right talent in order to implement business strategy. Understanding the availability of talent in combination with knowing how it is critical for the business strategy should lead to a more interactive relationship between the strategic choices of the organization and how its talent is trained and managed. Often, the reasons why business strategies fail is that they mistakenly assume that the organization can get the right talent in order to perform the way the strategy calls for. All too often organizations cannot attract or develop it, and as a result, the strategy is not feasible.

Talent has always been important, but it has increasingly become more critical because so many organizations are doing much more complex, knowledge-based work and operating globally. This has created a situation where the performance of talent has a major impact on the bottom line. The difference in many critical jobs between good talent performance and poor talent performance is 100 to 1. That reality is increasingly causing knowledge work-based organizations to focus on talent as a source of competitive advantage.

Google GOOG -0.09% is a good example of a company that has done an exceptional job of recruiting and managing people who have critical knowledge skills. It needs talented people to perform well and that translates into how they communicate about the kind of talent they are looking for and the jobs they offer. Further, they identify critical positions in the organization, where performance can differentiate them from their competitors. They make sure they fill those jobs with the right talent. This is an important and critical part of the whole recruitment and selection process. In the selection process, they ensure that they test for the ability to develop the key skills that are needed for the job.

Decades ago, Google, like 3M MMM +0.75%, began giving everybody 10-15% free time to work on their pet projects. People have used this time to come up with new business ideas and business projects. They have created work that fits the talent of the people in the organization, and they have attracted talented people to come to work for them. This allows them not only to implement their business strategy but to also grow and develop their business strategy based on the skills of their employees and their ability to attract top talent.

Why aren’t there more organizations that focus on talent? Some businessleaders think they can live without top talent. Others believe talent management is important, but they do not see it as important as finance or technology. Finally, many executives are unable to see the relationship between talent issues and the business strategy of their organization. Many executives do not have a background in talent management. They are trained in finance or engineering and they see them as the major determinants of organizational performance. The challenge for HR is not just to establish the importance of talent, but it is to link talent management to the business strategy.


Lawyers Expect IPO Boom to Roll On In 2014


With more than 200 deals, 2013 was a blockbuster year for domestic initial public offerings—the best on record since the turn of the millennium. And some of the biggest hits, like Twitter’s hotly anticipated shares, came out of California. Issuers headquartered in the Golden State accounted for nearly 20 percent of the total IPOs, with 44 going public.

Latham & Watkins and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati shared the distinction of bringing the most California issuers to market, advising eight apiece, according to a Recorder study of geographic IPO data supplied by Renaissance Capital. Wilson Sonsini, however, which won the coveted Twitter advisory role, handily outpaced its peers in total amount raised by clients issuing shares.

Attorneys say the strength of the equity capital markets is likely to continue into the new year. If their own pipelines are any indication, many said, the first quarter is going to be busy.

The first IPO of 2014 came Friday from Maryland-based biotech company GlycoMimetics, which soared in its debut, pricing an upsized offering after it postponed its plans in November. Many similarly situated biotechs put their IPOs on hold during the last few weeks of the fourth quarter.

An end-of-year slowdown reverberated across sectors, but some attorneys said this came as no surprise. They attributed it to a few factors, investor fatigue and gains-preservation among them. After a strong year, many institutional investors “don’t want to put their bonuses at risk,” said Patrick Pohlen, a Silicon Valley–based partner at Latham & Watkins.

But the GlycoMimetrics offering—in addition to a number of biotechs waiting in the wings—shows continuing confidence in the biotech space, a sector where IPOs have sometimes struggled.

Cooley partner Charles Kim noted that several of the companies that put the brakes on their offerings have now priced, and the firm has helped seven other health care companies file publicly in recent weeks. San Diego’s Receptos Inc., which went public in May, is trading at more than double its IPO price and is planning to close a secondary offering next week.

Several factors paved the way for life sciences companies to have their biggest year in recent memory. During a sustained bull market, investors looking for significant returns might become a bit more receptive to riskier bets, like those offered by biotechs, observed Latham partner Alan Mendelson. Like other companies, life sciences firms were further empowered by the flexibility brought by the JOBS Act, which permits so-called emerging growth companies to file confidentially with the SEC and test the waters with early investor meetings.

“All in all it was a really positive year,” Mendelson said. “It was so positive I have to admit to you I got a little twitchy toward the end of the year.” As counsel, it’s important to tease out the companies that are really ready to embark on a public offering from those simply rushing out to take advantage of the open window.

“Investor demand will be there for good companies,” Cooley’s Kim said.

But with companies able to weather—and wait out—a lull, the market for biotech offerings seems to have matured a bit. Many attorneys in the life sciences space are expecting a flurry of activity on the heels of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which begins Jan. 13 in San Francisco.

The tech industry also contributed to California’s busy launch pad. Though 2014 isn’t expected to feature the kind of shadow-casting offering that Facebook and Twitter brought to 2012 and 2013, respectively, attorneys said the pipeline of exciting, “real” companies remains strong.

The strong IPO market has inevitably drawn comparisons to 2000, and suggestions that the boom could signal a bubble poised to burst. But Silicon Valley attorneys reached by The Recorder said that although the past year was record-busting, it looks less like 2000 than one might be inclined to think. For one, there were 406 initial public offerings that year, nearly double last year’s haul. For another, the fever in the air more than a decade ago meant the companies getting to market were weaker, puffed up by hype, not financial fundamentals.

“In 2000 there were companies going public that had no business being public companies,” said Richard Kline, a partner at Goodwin Procter. “They might have had ‘clicks and eyeballs,’ but couldn’t convert on their revenue.” Today’s companies, by contrast, are profitable or have clear paths to it, he said.

Contact the reporter at callison@alm.com.

Read more: http://www.therecorder.com/id=1202637669084/Lawyers-Expect-IPO-Boom-to-Roll-On-In-2014#ixzz2qKIV1uXI

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2014: The Year of the … Sticky Note!

English: Concept art for the Wikipedia:Wikiped...

English: Concept art for the Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Sticky notes idea. The user clicked “sticky note” (see it next to “edit”), then they highlighted some text. After choosing a colour, the sticky indicator appeared, along with a box in the margin for him/her to leave a comment. The wikipage used in this example is an older version of the “other views” section of the “Apathy” page. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Post-it note is a piece of stationery with a...

A Post-it note is a piece of stationery with a re-adherable strip of adhesive on the back, designed for temporarily attaching notes to documents and other surfaces. Although now available in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, Post-it notes are most commonly a 3-inch (76 mm) square, canary yellow in color. A unique low-tack adhesive allows the notes to be easily attached and removed without leaving marks or residue, unless used on white boards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"Black-white 2 Vista" icon theme

“Black-white 2 Vista” icon theme (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s right, the year of the sticky note.

The year that the new, highly sophisticated management system of #MBSN becomes mainstream.

Tom Peters has MBWA — Managing By Wandering Around — and we have #MBSN – Managing By Sticky Notes.

Why sticky notes?

Because sticky notes make your ideas portable and your thinking visible to others, two essential skills for leaders and managers in today’s fast-paced environment.

The magic behind this sticky note obsession is actually collaboration and participation. We believe that in order to buy-in, people have to weigh-in. Sticky notes and other collaboration tools help us connect people to work together on shared goals. That means engagement, alignment, inclusivity, the wisdom of the crowd, and yes even a little fun. That means we can tackle bigger opportunities and solve bigger problems, together.

Sometimes it can go overboard, even for me. Watch this little clip to see how it got out of hand…

The point is that to thrive in this rapidly changing and complex environment we need all of the help we can get. Some are saying that the collaboration curve is quickly replacing the experience curve. Who you know and how you collaborate with them will quickly supplant what you know. (See the HBR article, Introducing the Collaboration Curve by John Hagel, John Seely-Brown, and Lang Davison). We have definitely found this to be true in our work with organizations and our own membership at the MACPA.

Sticky Notes are just the beginning. We have been working over the last year with some technology platforms that support our collaboration obsession. Conferences.io is an interactive conference and learning platform that allows social Q&A, interactive and shared polling that we are using in our town halls, conferences and other learning activities (See my post, A New Era In Talent Development and Learning).

Our Thinktank collaboration platform by Group Systems allows us to go deep into collaboration virtually, live or in a mixed virtual/live setting. Thinktank allows for a deeper level of collaboration and can quickly rank, prioritize, and graph participant’s responses. One of the features I like best is that it allows for “parallel processing” as participants can all enter thoughts and brainstorms simultaneously, saving lots of time and allowing anonymity when desired.

Together these tools combined with our team of trained facilitators, allows us to work collaboratively in ways never before imagined.

Here are some examples of our work with sticky notes and structured collaboration from our work at the Maryland Association of CPAs and the Business Learning Institute.

So join me in our declaration that 2014 is officially the year of the Sticky Note! 2014 is the year of collaboration and working together.

With thanks to our friends at 3M and their famous post-it notes.

Post-it note

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Post-it note

Logo of the brand
Product type Stationerypaper
Owner 3M
Country Cynthiana, Kentucky, U.S.
Introduced 1980
Website 3m.com

A small pad of lined Post-it Brand notes.

Post-It notes on a wall

Post-it note (or Sticky Note) is a piece of paper stationery with a re-adherable strip of adhesive on the back, designed for temporarily attaching notes to documents and other surfaces. Although now available in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, Post-it notes are most commonly a 3-inch (76 mm) square, canary yellow in color. A unique low-tack adhesive allows the notes to be easily attached and removed without leaving residue.

Post-it notes were invented by 3M‘s Art Fry, using an adhesive developed by a colleague,Spencer Silver. Until the 1990s, when the patent expired, they were produced only in the 3M plant in Cynthiana, Kentucky. Although other companies now produce sticky or repositionable notes, most of the world’s Post-it Brand notes are still made in Cynthiana.

The term “Post-it” and the canary yellow color are registered trademarks of 3M. “Sticky Note”, likewise, is a trademark of Société Bic. Generic terms for competitors include “repositionable notes” and “repositional notes”. To take advantage of the success of the brand, 3M manufactures other products related to the Post-it concept.




In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M in the United States, was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive, but instead he accidentally created a “low-tack”, reusable,pressure-sensitive adhesive[1][2] that has been characterized as “a solution without a problem”.[3] For five years, Silver promoted his invention within 3M, both informally and through seminars, but without much success. In 1974, a colleague of his, Art Fry, who had attended one of Silver’s seminars, came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymnbook.[4][5] Fry then developed the idea by taking advantage of 3M’s officially sanctioned “permitted bootlegging” policy.[5] 3M launched the product in stores in 1977 in four cities under the name “Press ‘n Peel”, but its results were disappointing.[6][7] A year later, in 1978, 3M issued free samples to residents of Boise, Idaho, and 94 percent of the people who tried them said that they would buy the product.[6] On April 6, 1980, the product debuted in US stores as “Post-It Notes”.[8] In 1981, Post-its were launched inCanada and Europe.[9]

In 2003, the company came out with Post-it Brand Super Sticky notes, with a stronger glue that adheres better to vertical and non-smooth surfaces.[10]

Standard Post-it Brand notes have only partial adhesive coating on the back, along one edge. Similar products are used for specialized purposes with full adhesive coating; the US Post Office uses such yellow address labels to forward mail.

The yellow color was chosen by accident; a lab next-door to the Post-it team only had scrap yellow paper, which the team initially used.[11]

Use in art[edit]

Post-it notes used to make a mosaic

“The Yellow Stickee Diary of a Mad Secretary”, by Rosa Maria Arenas, is the mini graphic journal of an office worker/artist, exhibited July 7 – August 25, 2013, at the Michigan Institute of Contemporary Art (MICA) Gallery in Lansing, Michigan. The 41 drawings displayed are a tiny percentage of the more than 2000 original drawings that constitute the Yellow Stickee Diary Project which Arenas created while working temp jobs from 1994 to 2005. Printed with archival inks on archival paper, the reproductions include “stickee sized” (3″ x 5″) framed prints and enlargements of the original drawings (which were all done on post-it notes).[12]

In 2012, Turkish artist Ardan Özmenoglu was selected to have a solo exhibition at Bertrand Delacroix Gallery in the art district of Chelsea, Manhattan. The exhibition, titled “E Pluribus Unum” (Latin for “Out of many, one”), opened November 15, 2012 and featured large scale works on Post-it notes.[13]

In 2004, Paola Antonelli, a curator of architecture and design, included Post-it notes in a show entitled “Humble Masterpieces”.

Rebecca Murtaugh, a California artist who uses Post-it notes in her artwork, in 2001 created an installation by covering her whole bedroom with $1000 worth of the notes, using the ordinary yellow for objects she saw as having less value and neon colors for more important objects, such as the bed.[10]

In 2000 the 20th anniversary of Post-it notes was celebrated by having artists create artworks on the notes. One such work, by the artist R. B. Kitaj, sold for £640 in an auction, making it the most valuable Post-it note on record.[14]

Use in technology[edit]

Analogues of Post-it notes have also been used in technology in the form of desktop notes which are computer applications developed to allow users to put virtual notes on their computer desktop. These computerized versions of Post-it notes include 3M’s own “Post-it Brand Software Notes”, “Stickies” in Mac OS, “Sticky Notes” in Windows,[15] or other non-free applications like ShixxNOTE.[16]Additionally, some web applications have developed Post-it sort notes for online use.


  1. Jump up^ Spencer Silver: The guy with the glue
  2. Jump up^ Donnelly, Tim (23 August 2012). “9 Brilliant Inventions Made by Mistake”Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  3. Jump up^ “About Post-it® Brand”. Retrieved 2013-02-12. “The Post-it® Note was invented as a solution without a problem: Dr. Spencer Silver developed a special, repositionable adhesive, but the 3M scientist didn’t know what to do with his discovery.”
  4. Jump up^ “Inventor of the Week: Art Fry and Spencer Silver”MIT. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
  5. Jump up to:a b Petroski, Henry (1992). The Evolution of Useful Things. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 84–86. ISBN 0-679-41226-3.OCLC 24906856.
  6. Jump up to:a b Art Fry and Spencer Silver. “First Person: ‘We invented the Post-it Note’”FT Magazine. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  7. Jump up^ TV.accesshollywood.com
  8. Jump up^ “Spencer Silver”. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
  9. Jump up^ “The Evolution of the Post-it Note”. 3M. Retrieved 2010-02-13.
  10. Jump up to:a b Green, Penelope (2007-07-03). “The all-purpose note that stuck”International Herald Tribune.
  11. Jump up^ “Why Are Post-it Notes Yellow?”. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  12. Jump up^ http://www.micagallery.org/the-yellow-stickee-diary-of-a-mad-secretary-july-august-2013-show/
  13. Jump up^ “Ardan Ozmenoglu “E PLURIBUS UNUM”: Nov 15 – Dec 15”. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  14. Jump up^ “Post-it Note raises £640”BBC News. 2000-12-27. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
  15. Jump up^ “Windows 7 Features ‘Sticky Notes'”. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  16. Jump up^ “ShixxNOTE network enabled sticky notes program”. Retrieved 2012-02-23.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Post-it notes.


2013 :The Year we Broke The Internet


Stephen Darori on the Best of 2013

s winter storms were buffeting parts of the country last week, our collective attention was drawn halfway around the world to Egypt. Images of the pyramids and the Sphinx covered in snow had emerged, and were being shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. It wasn’t hard to see why. For some, sharing the photos was a statement on global warming. For others, sharing was about the triumph of discovery, making them proud housecats dropping a half-chewed mouse of news on the Internet’s doorstep. For most, however, the photos were just another thoughtlessly processed and soon-forgotten item that represented our now-instinctual response to the unrelenting stream of information we’re subjected to every waking hour: Share first, ask questions later. Better yet: Let someone else ask the questions. Better still: What was the question again?Needless to say, the photos were bullshit.

It’s hard not to note the tidy…

View original post 6,304 more words

Inflation in 2014

English: A comparison of three UK indexes of i...

English: A comparison of three UK indexes of inflation currently in use: the Retail Price Index (RPI), the RPI excluding mortages (RPIX) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI). It also includes for comparison the Average Earnings Index. These are derived from the Office for National Statistics reduced to a common base of January 1988=100 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Inflation rate - Iran (CPI, 1980-2010).

English: Inflation rate – Iran (CPI, 1980-2010). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: This chart contrasts the difference i...

English: This chart contrasts the difference in inflation of the money supply, the M2, with inflation in a basket of goods, CPI. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

World map showing inflation, updated for 2009....

World map showing inflation, updated for 2009. Grey means no data. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


inflation (Photo credit: SalFalko)

English: US CPI inflation (year-on-year) from ...

English: US CPI inflation (year-on-year) from 1914 to 2010. US CPI monthly data series obtained from the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) database provided by Economic Research at the St. Louis Fed.http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDPC96?cid=106 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Only Unbiased Inflation Report

What is it about inflation that brings out only absolute black or white opinions? Depending on who you talk to, we’re either about to suffer from rampant hyperinflation — or there’s no reason to worry about it at all.

It is one extreme or the other, without real details. The conclusion is all you’ll hear about.

The odds of hyperinflation are greater than before the Federal Reserve introduced its quantitative easing programs. With a stable and globally dominant economy, chances of the dollar becoming truly worthless are very low.

At the same time — with the unprecedented economic experiment that is QE pumping $85 billion into the market every month — we’re adding a massive amount of dollars into an economy that is growing nowhere near as quickly as the monetary base.

There is a disconnect here that investors should be aware of. Anyone getting their information from the news or mainstream media is missing the real story.

If you could just get around the partisan opinions of biases talking heads and economists, you could make your own decisions about inflationary risk.

We think you’re owed a no-nonsense look at why a fear of inflation is healthy and justified, so that’s what we aim to do today…

To start, we need to ask: Which inflation rate are we even talking about here?

False Precision

The first step to understanding inflationary risks is to get a firm grasp of what inflation truly is.

It is not just rising prices, although that is certainly part of it. To have inflation, you must have an excess of money supply. The existence of excess money won’t mean much on its own if it isn’t doing anything; the currency must be circulating in the economy, chasing overall prices that are getting increasingly higher.

It is for this reason food and energy costs are often removed from inflation rate calculations: It is all too easy to have a seasonal shortage or disruption skew the numbers.

Instead, a wide basket of relatively stable goods and services are tracked over time. When weighted and averaged together using a formula, we can arrive at an inflation rate.

When you use a different list of products and services with different formulas, you get different types of inflation rates. The most commonly used measure is a weighted index of goods and services called the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W. This is what Social Security uses to calculate benefit increases, even though there is a CPI-E for the elderly.

Just think about how a thousand people will be robo-called, and the results of the survey are used to reflect the entire U.S. population. Except the polling isn’t random at all. And by picking and choosing which goods and services are included — and then tweaking the inflation equation — it is incredibly easy to sculpt the results.

The equations used to calculate inflation are complex, but it is only an estimate.

The official version is just one of many methods that could be used.

Take a look at how previous changes to the government methodology dramatically changes the inflation rate for the U.S. dollar by using a method our government used in the past…

SGS alternate CPI is designed to provide a cumulative look at the difference between the old official inflation methodology and what Congress forces the Bureau of Labor Statistics to use now:

sgs alt inflationchart courtesy of Shadow Stats

We should hardly trust the official inflation rate as an accurate reflection of what is truly going on…

Simply swapping the current equation for one used by our government up until the last couple decades dramatically changes the picture.

There is talk about changing how the official inflation is measured yet again. Instead of a consumer price index (CPI) based on urban wage earners, we’d be using chained CPI.

The reason politicians want to switch between CPIs is to reduce Social Security payouts by reducing the cost-of-living payment increases tied to inflation. Chained CPI will consistently give lower rates of inflation. Add that up over years, and we’re looking at a reduction of benefits in the billions.

If the government used the most accurate version of CPI for elderly Americans (CPI-E), it would have to pay quite a bit more to Social Security recipients than it does currently.

So there you have it: self-serving manipulation, regardless of intent. It shows how subjective official inflation statistics really are.

On The Ropes

While we have reason to be concerned over the inaccuracy of the official inflation rate, fear of inflation is primarily based on the potential for it to worsen…

The Fed has gotten itself in such a mess that tools and tricks to combat inflation are gone. It has no capacity to tighten the monetary supply, decrease the use of credit or increase the Fed funds rate in the next several years.

However, the Fed can reduce inflation simply by tightening the monetary base. The concept is simple:Reduce the number of dollars floating around, and they become more valuable.

But the problem with our monetary base is that we have yet to even see the inflationary effect from the Fed’s QE programs. We’re in an uneasy and weak economic climate, while international banking rules are being rewritten through the Basel III meetings. This creates an environment where there is a lot of concern about low profits from riskier loans with low yields. A whole lot of money is staying out of circulation because of it.

If the recovery picks up steam, and banks are more confident in their ability to create profits, that will change far quicker than the Fed can react.

We’d need a massive reduction to stabilize the long-term effects from QE before tightening the monetary base would have any deflationary effect, and that won’t be possible for years, if not decades…

fred monetary base apr13

On a related note, the Fed can reduce inflation by changing the reserve requirements from banks (these figures are included in the total monetary base chart above).

Banks would have to soak up more money to meet higher capital requirements and pull money out of circulation.

However, Banks are already chafing under new reserve requirements after the meltdown and following the recession. From what we see in this chart, required reserves are already going up as quickly as possible.

The Fed cannot increase reserve requirements any faster to curb inflation.

fred req reserves

The Fed has a bit more leeway with the Fed funds rate, or the interest rate banks charge each other for loans to maintain their reserve requirements.

Banks use these short-term loans to shore up reserves as they loan money to businesses. Raising the funds rate discourages this by raising the cost to banks and eroding their profit potential. Thus, the circulation of money slows.

However, the Fed is already using the funds rate a different way: It is purposely keeping it as low as possible to spur economic activity. With a rate at nearly zero, the pedal is to the metal just to keep GDP numbers in the positive…

The Fed would have to start a recession to fight inflation, which it would never do.

fred fed rate

Finally, we have the discount rate, the interest rate charged to borrow money for reserves directly from the Fed. This is like the funds rate in all regards — except the source of the capital: It has been pegged just above 0% to spur economic activity for the last several years. The choice is recession or fighting inflation once again.

The Fed has put us on the ropes. We’re not down for the count yet, but we have no way to defend ourselves if the punches start flying again.

Be Reasonable, Think For Yourself

Back in 2007 Bernanke gave a speech in which he stated, “Undoubtedly, the state of inflation expectations greatly influences actual inflation and thus the central bank’s ability to achieve price stability.”

Perhaps Bernanke’s greatest (and only remaining) tool to fight inflation has been masterfully wielded…

In spite of the evidence to the contrary and the risks the Fed has taken to date, headlines about inflation continue to follow Ben’s lead.

For your own sake, don’t let Bernanke and his standard bearers sway you with their self-serving agenda.

In my opinion, a healthy dose of fear is a good thing in our situation. It will give investors pause and make them consider the long-term implications of our distorted economy on their investments, which should prompt them to keep contingencies in place to protect themselves.

Just about anything that isn’t solely valued using a single currency, such as bonds or shares listed through U.S. exchanges, can be an integral part of that contingency plan.

Popular options are good; silver, real estate and just about anything that isn’t bought, sold, and valued in a single currency.

We certainly don’t think you should completely shun the dollar and sell off stocks or bonds you own now. There is plenty of opportunity for gains and profits from innovative and dynamic American businesses right now.

Diversity is the key to limit the long-term vulnerability of your investments.

Nothing else can match gold’s inflationary hedge and equity insurance properties. However, even less obvious choices — such as luxury goods that appreciate in value over time — have worked exceedingly well over the last ten years. As well, funds designed to pool money to buy art and wine are increasingly popular choices. With markets in Europe and massive demand in Asia, they are uniquely positioned to maximize returns for luxury goods using virtually any major currency around in the world.

Until the Fed regains the ability to fight inflation, you should consider these alternatives — no matter what Bernanke or economics ideologues proclaim…