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What is Civic Engagement? | Luis F. Aleman

Civic engagement is the act of positively impacting our neighborhoods and communities by combining skills, values, motivation, and knowledge to bring about change. Civic engagement includes informal and formal activities like voting and lobbying for politicians, volunteering, or communicating with elected officials. Other choices might include researching ballot initiatives, completing census forms, or coaching a community’s sports team.

There are four basic civic engagement tenets: civic action, civic duty, civic skills, and social cohesion. Civic action involves participating in activities like learning a community service and volunteering. Civic duty or service includes the ability and motivation to make worthwhile contributions to society. Civic skills cover involvement in politics, societal issues, and democracy. Social cohesion involves bonding with others in the community by doing good in the neighborhood and building bonds with community members to improve education, public safety, and the environment.

Democracy is based on civic engagement. When you are engaged from a civil perspective, you give the people in the community, including yourself, the power to improve their neighborhoods. When you participate in civic engagement, you can champion causes that are important to you and help those in your community who are dealing with various financial, social, or educational issues.

There are several ways you can get put civic engagement into action. You can volunteer as an election worker to supervise the polls on election day or during the early voting period. Those who want to participate in civic duty should also get to know their local representatives and stay in touch with them for lobbying purposes. As a community volunteer, you can partner with representatives to bring attention to important community matters.

When you’re committed to civic engagement, you will likely attend city council meetings regularly. During the sessions, you can learn about community issues and get the latest details on social and educational initiatives that local politicians are planning.

Volunteering in any capacity in the community is also a part of civic engagement. Whether you’re helping to give out food during the holidays, reading to children at the local library, or starting a program to recycle or clean up trash in your community, you can make a big difference in your neighborhood.

This article was originally published at https://luisfaleman.org/

Leading With Emotional Intelligence | Luis F. Aleman

Workplace culture used to be much different regarding the employee-boss dynamic. The status quo dictated that people should be grateful for employment and willing to ignore abuse levels to keep their jobs. Legal advice was often given to do whatever the boss said. If bosses instructed workers to do something ethically vague or work unpaid overtime, that’s what they’d do. Today, the landscape is much different. Workers are more inclined to look for a workplace where they feel like they are validated and respected.

Positive company culture matters to today’s workers, and leadership sets the cultural tone for a business. If people think their leaders see them as cogs in a wheel, only making money for executives and shareholders, they won’t stay around for long. Today’s worker wants recognition and value as a person. They want to feel like they’re a part of a team, where everyone’s contributions are acknowledged and heard.

Leaders should be aware that they’re often very different from their subordinates in many ways. Usually, the people who are natural-born entrepreneurs are highly-focused and driven. They’re willing to make significant sacrifices to make it to the next level. Not every personality type is like this. For some, work is simply a means of survival. Every moment at work is time away from their small children, art projects, or other passions. Leaders need to be empathetic to their teams and realize they have priorities other than their mission and brand promise.

Anyone who wants to engage and lead people working under them needs to approach that task with a plan. There are several significant ways to show employees that company leaders care about them. Treating employees with respect is critical. There are simple ways of putting this into practice. Saying “please” and “thank you” can go a long way when dealing with subordinates. It’s the difference between being domineering and treating someone like an equal. Embracing different perspectives is also very important. Remember, everyone has something to offer. Employees living in diverse or colorful neighborhoods might have a fresh take on customers’ needs.

Remember that workers have career goals, too, even if it isn’t the CEO. Some leaders lose people by only focusing on themselves. Noticing a worker’s abilities and offering them the chance to develop can mean everything to them. The surest way to earn respect is to hold yourself accountable. If you make a mistake, apologize. 

This article was originally published at https://luisfaleman.com/

What Economic Recovery Looks Like After a Recession | Luis F. Aleman

After every recession, there is a period of economic recovery that aims to renew everyone’s interest in businesses. Workers are rehired, businesses reopen, and people return to their standard methods of spending. The rally is the rebuilding stage of an economical process.

The Effects of a Recession

recession is an economic decline caused by various factors, such as a widespread financial crisis, pandemic, adverse supply shock, or adverse demand shock. Economic recovery is the following period that increases economic activity. During a recovery period, the country’s GDP increases, unemployment rates decrease, and financial experts provide more positive financial outlooks.

Methods to Prevent a Disaster

Economists work on determining the causes of the recession and creating preventative methods for the future. This strategy is also followed by banks, governments, and financial institutions. They analyze the different types of businesses involved and the capital and resources that affected the widespread failure in the first place.

New Changes to Old Policies

New activities occur, such as the reemployment of laid-off workers and the reopening of temporarily closed businesses. Tens of thousands of companies change the policies that affect how they manage their finances, handle employees’ terminations, and prepare for natural disasters. Businesses that barely survived the recession might merge with larger enterprises, which ensures their future survival if another recession were to occur. Without making these changes, many businesses have to close their doors permanently.

Government Intervention

The government may intervene to help business owners by providing stimulus plans. They provide loans or grants to business owners who have lost at least half of their revenue. The government issues bills that affect how funding is distributed to help businesses in the future.

New Growth

Economic recovery is a time for new business growth. The expansionary business cycle phase officially occurs when there is significant growth after two or more financial quarters. Consumers return to the stores and continue their steady spending habits. As a result, businesses decrease their interest rates and increase their lines of production.

Every economy goes through ups and downs for different reasons. Different forms of a recession are expected in a society. History has shown that economic recovery always follows to counteract the effects. During this period, consumers, business owners, and economists have greater confidence in the economy and make optimistic predictions for the future.

This article was originally published at https://luisfaleman.net/

Learning the Basics of Economics

Economics is a behavioral science that tries to understand how resource scarcity affects human behavior. The most widely accepted definition of economics is the study of all aspects of consumerism, from production and distribution to the consumption of goods and services.

Branches of Economics

The two major branches of economics are macro and microeconomics. Microeconomics studies human behavior at an individual or group level. Macroeconomics focuses on larger groups such as countries and regions and how they are affected by different factors. Within these two branches are smaller fields of interest, such as economic development, urban economics, and econometrics. Other areas that might interest students of economics include financial markets and industry outlooks.

Basic Concepts of Economics

At the core of economics are the basic concepts of supply and demand. Supply is the amount of a commodity that is available on the market. Demand refers to the willingness of buyers to purchase it at the prevailing price. When supply exceeds demand, the price may go down. Conversely, the price increases when demand is much higher than the supply. Another important concept is elasticity which is the extent to which the price of a commodity can fluctuate before affecting the demand or supply.

The Financial Markets

Financial markets operate on the basis of a contingent contract. This is a commitment to pay a certain price if a particular event occurs, such as inflation or a recession. Stock prices are always mildly affected by several factors, but recessions have the most profound impact. Prices may rise or fall sharply during recessions. Another factor that is important to investors is inflation. Inflation is the loss of value of a commodity with time. Equally important to these items are exchange and interest rates, both of which are in constant flux. Exchange rates are the trades in the currencies of different nations, affecting the US dollar’s value. Interest rates are the amount lenders charge for the use of assets. When rates are low, people tend to increase their borrowing levels, which also has an effect on the economy. 

Economic Growth

Predicting economic growth is a favorite pastime for macroeconomists. National growth is estimated using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Global organizations such as the World Bank also make estimates. Another popular topic is globalization, which facilitates the outsourcing of jobs to other countries. When economic growth is too low, such as during a recession, governments may introduce a fiscal stimulus plan. This is an injection of funds into the economy by the Treasury meant to stimulate economic activity. 

This article was originally published on https://luisfaleman.net/

The Importance of Local Government

The Importance Of Local Government

The most basic form of government starts at the local city or town level. Understanding how local government works is important because of its powerful effects on everyone’s daily life. Local laws, as opposed to national laws, are the ones that directly affect how people live, work, and socialize every day. 

The Definition of Local Government

Everyone is familiar with the national government that consists of the Congress and the Senate. State senators along with members of congress represent the general interests of residents within their states. Local governments, which affect a city, town or county, abide by laws that are set by the state and national governments combined.

Why It Matters

A local government is important because every city, town, or village is unique. No two major cities, no matter how similar they seem, are exactly alike. There must be unique laws about every issue, whether it’s zoning, property rent, or public safety, that pertains to that specific region. Local government is needed to point out the unique problems that define a particular area.

Local laws are also important when it comes to budgeting. Government officials have to know about the issues that affect their city first and then allocate the right amount of funds to each department, such as policing or public parks. Without a proper budget, no city or town would remain financially or socially stable for longer than a few months.

Local governance is needed to promote widespread peace, law and order. If one person was given total control of the city council, he or she would develop many enemies very quickly. Instead, power is divided among the mayor and other representatives who are elected by the people. This democratic system is fair and widely practiced in developed countries. 

The main goals of local governance are to promote the values of a close-knit community and make it more enjoyable for everyday living. To the rest of the world, a city’s values are shown in the form of local laws, court systems, police orders, school policies, etc. People should learn more about how the government significantly affects the lives of themselves and their families.

This article was originally published at https://luisfaleman.org/

Becoming More Organized as an Entrepreneur

Becoming More Organized As An Entrepreneur

What exactly is it about the entrepreneurial spirit that leads some people to be a bit less organized than a lot of other people? One theory is that it’s a lifestyle with fewer stringent routines than the traditional nine-to-five life. The more successful you become as an entrepreneur, the more you’ll find that being organized is a vital part of that success. In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can become a more organized (and successful) entrepreneur.

Set (and Stick To) a Daily Routine

Organization and routine are inextricably linked when describing people with good organizational habits. Setting a daily routine that you stick to leads to a higher level of personal discipline and purpose. These habits, in turn, lead you into keeping your work schedule more organized and less chaotic.

Get Rid of the Old Ways

It’s typical for an entrepreneur to struggle when it’s time to get rid of old ideas, models, paperwork, prototypes, or transcripts. If you’re like others, you probably think that there’s still a chance one of those ideas might be a hit someday. But if you’ve already put significant time and resources into these past ideas that didn’t pan out, it’s time to rid yourself of their remnants.

Set aside a weekend to pour through all of your old paperwork and materials. Find what’s cluttering up your organizational system and what genuinely needs to be kept. Then, for the items you wish to keep, separate them from all current projects and organize them in a meaningful way, at a distance from your current work.

Hire a Freelance Personal Assistant

Maybe there just aren’t enough hours in your day to get and remain organized. Perhaps the phone is always ringing off the hook and your appointments are constantly overlapping. If that’s the case, then it’s time to hire a freelance virtual assistant to help get you organized. Jump on a freelance website such as UpWork.com or Freelancer.com and search for virtual personal assistants you can hire by the job or by the hour. Non-U.S. freelancers sometimes post rates of less than $5/hour, with U.S. freelancers typically charging more.

This article was originally published at https://luisfaleman.com/

Why Community Engagement is Important

In today’s world, community engagement is becoming increasingly popular. Constructive relationships between the government and communities make community engagement a pivotal and desirable process for the well-functioning of today’s democracies.

Goods and Services

One of the benefits of having a solid community engagement is that it leads to equitability and improvement of local communities’ effective delivery of services. In areas where traditional approaches have proven ineffective, community engagement has enabled a better understanding of the community’s needs and produced a sustainable model to supply peoples’ needs.

Social Capital

Community engagement is crucial because it is majorly part of a conversation where communities make decisions to create social capital. Stories that arise when communities come together help create changes in local amenities that better the lives of community members. They also help shape the community’s future and bring a broader scope of societal and global impacts.

Shared Knowledge

Community engagement can result in better outcomes when government entities and public decision-making bodies come together to seek the community’s aspirations and values. When the communities share their values and concerns, decision-making entities become well informed and better meet the community’s needs.

Pride and Empowerment

Building long term partnerships between the communities and the government also results in a greater sense of ownership and better uptake of tailor-made services for the community’s aspirations. Inclusive community engagement is crucial for the betterment of the community’s well-being. Through inclusivity, community members become well informed about the issues at hand and can make meaningful contributions to the community. It also enables community members to access a valued social setting and be able to participate expressively in all aspects of the community. Through empowerment, locals can develop capabilities that help them participate fully in meaningful activities. Additionally, inclusiveness enables the less heard and diverse voices to participate in the community’s empowerment actively. The empowerment of the usually overlooked voices allows locals to participate in decision-making, which impacts their everyday lives.

Trust

Through community engagement, governments can improve on their legitimacy and efficiency. By embracing community participation, decision-makers can make better-informed decisions by carefully designing their operations to suit the locals’ needs and aspirations. When communities communicate their needs to the government, their decisions become acceptable, which helps build trust between the two entities.

This article was originally published at luisfaleman.org

What is a Recession?

With the world suddenly cast into the unknown, it’s no surprise that sudden disasters can cause global economies to fall into low levels of financial productivity. Be aware of the common signs of a recession so that you can come out of them at your best. People typically look at the potential impact of debt as a national indication that a recession is near. The collapse caused by the dot-com era showed how, at times, recessions are caused by exaggerated hopes in the business markets. Even inflation and deflation, when present at their extremes, can cause economic downturns. Economies that are forced to halt due to natural disasters like a pandemic are also laden with financial challenges that can disrupt normal life.

No economy is immune to the onset of a strong recession. Realize, however, that recessions and depressions are different in that one is inevitable. The other isn’t and is also much more extreme. From an economic view, recessions are compared to a day when few customers visit you. A depression, which is a severe recession, has conditions where no buyers even arrive for a time period extending past six months. Here are some key points that can help you to see the imminence of any recession ahead:

Economic Cycles—Economic progress is always followed by a time of low performance and recovery. The expected cycles of “boom and bust” are not only inevitable but are necessary as innovation rallies and then “regroups.”

Two Quarters at Least—Economists consider a recession as a period lasting roughly six months. Just be aware that economic data, as it’s released to the public, is presented via a delayed schedule. Try to anticipate the news of a recession ahead of time, for it’s often too late when most people find out about it.

Rising Unemployment—People who can’t find work are often victims of a poor economy where businesses, governments and entrepreneurs have no positions to fill. No matter what the specific cause of low unemployment is, any lack of money in people’s hands will negatively impact public businesses.

Lower Sales—The country’s gross domestic product is a recession indicator. Consumer spending makes up roughly 70% of the U.S. GDP. Failing businesses are a large factor behind the economic downturns of a recession.

This article was originally published at luisfaleman.net

Building a Business in Times of Hardship

The COVID-19 crisis has changed the world in so many ways. Social distancing regulations have meant that some businesses have changed almost unrecognizably. This has created real challenges, particularly for small business owners. However, it’s important to remember that times of change create new opportunities for entrepreneurs. A crack in the business landscape isn’t just an imperfection. Sometimes, it lets in some light.

The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to operate in the usual way, but it has also made interesting pivots possible. For example, a Los Angeles company that typically makes chef coats and aprons has shifted to making face masks. Cafes that became famous for their great sit-down atmosphere have transitioned to take-out only. Office jobs have mostly become work-from-home remote opportunities. For entrepreneurs who are willing to check in with themselves and do a brain dump, it’s been possible to uncover new opportunities. Even during this challenging time, there are ways to grow.

Although the pandemic is still ongoing, it’s not too late to adapt. Think of it as just another change to the market. All businesses need to adjust to those as well, and this is no different. Two of the programs established via the CARES Act, namely the EIDL and the PPP loans, have been extended. There are also grants available for many small businesses. Some cities, counties and non-profit organizations have offered grants in multiple rounds. It’s important to keep checking the local news for forgivable loans or grants. There’s a very good chance there’s help available.

In addition, don’t be afraid to share information. Help doesn’t have to be material. Business is competitive at the best of times, but there’s a time and place for that. Without mutual aid, the small business community in many areas will not survive this crisis. In some cases, the best way for entrepreneurs to support one another is just by talking. Sharing strategies that work and attempts that didn’t is a great strategy. With communication and community support, there’s a good chance for many small businesses.

Finally, remember that every challenge is an opportunity to grow. Many of the biggest, most famous businesses in the world got their start during recessions. Keep brainstorming. Be a source of encouragement. Keep getting up each day and seeking success.

This article was originally published at luisfaleman.com