Recently, I landed a new job running a country. Actually, I would rather think of it as running a whole world. To do the world thing, one of my plans is to double the size of an outfit called the Peace Corps. I'm also planning to more than triple the size of AmeriCorps, create an Energy Corps, a Green Job Corps and a Classroom Corps. I mean, roll over JFK!

I'm writing to you cuz I saw this video on your site. I saw this Moses-like figure sitting there, right after my predecessor announced the first Peace Corps, rapping his team with, "I've been telling you this for years. Does it take the President of the U.S.A. to get the point across?"

Looks like you now have your own international corps, and it seems darn successful. I mean, we've got about 10,000 out there and your little group has 20,000. So I'm interested if you can give me a few tips. If I can get anywhere proportionally as successful as you have, who knows, I might even get nominated as the messiah.


Peace Corps? Hey, I remember that! I was just a kid when a fresh, young president announced the Peace Corps. It marked the end of stuffy, commy-hunting, super-industrialist, dollar-worshipping, bureaucratic old men running the world, and the beginning of a power-to-the-youth cultural revolution that blew the sixties out of orbit. So you want to do that again? Hey, it's about time for a change, right?

Tips? We got lots of tips. Let me ponder some of the key strategies the Rebbe taught us and look at how it was implemented. I'll just write it out as it comes (we're kinda busy around here):

Tip #1: Hold back on the micro-management, Mr. President. Inspire, provide guidance and guidelines—and then trust your front-line workers to make their own decisions accordingly. Their decisions are your decisions. Unless they fly in the face of your whole mandate, you are going to have to support them all the way. If you want inspired, motivated workers out in the field, they need to be empowered. And the best way to empower them is to believe in them—and prove that to them by leaving them alone.

Tip #2: How can you believe in them? Because you taught them. And you continue to teach them. A real leader, especially one who wants to make real change, is a master teacher. Not just a teacher of knowledge. Not just a teacher of ideas. But a teacher of vision—one who can bring his students to share his vision and believe in it as he does. When you and your students believe in one vision, you can believe in one another as well.

Tip #3: Just like you need to believe in the people you are sending, they need to believe in the people they are sent to help. If they fly in like G‑d's angels to shower pity upon the poor natives, they'll make more trouble than good. They need an attitude of deep respect, awed by the privilege they have to be of assistance to such people.

Tip #4: Obviously, you want to reach as many people as possible. That's nice, but quantity relies on quality. Your people will only make real impact if they form deep and lasting bonds with members of their communities. They'll do that by being there for those people when they are needed, by putting the needs of those people before their own, and by doing it all with their heart. And, hey, they'll do that because you are there for them when you are needed, with all you have, all the way. We've got lots of stories both ways to illustrate.

Tip #5: Support wild and wacky solutions. We actually wrap leather boxes on people on the street. We give away charity boxes and tell people to fill them and give them to whoever. We call normal solutions "sneaking under the problem." The best solutions are always when you jump right over a problem as though it wasn't even there in the first place. Moses splitting the Red Sea is an example of an outrageous solution. So is a Chabad House.

Tip #6: Forget the committees, the feasibility studies, the extensive planning. In the Rebbe's words: Just do it. If it works, great. If it doesn't, the experiment probably cost a lot less than the study would have. The world is moving fast today—by the time the study is done, it's generally irrelevant. Jump in there and get the ball rolling. You'll do miracles. And studies don't predict miracles.

Tip #7: Forget the two year stint. Nothing happens without real commitment, and real commitment doesn't come with a round-trip ticket. Tell your Peace Corps people, "I'm sending you to this faraway land and its your territory, your responsibility. You are there until the messiah comes. Give it everything you've got."

Okay, I know that last one is going to be tough. I mean, you've got leadership qualities alright, but to get a lifetime commitment out of people, you've got to be Moses himself. Or at least a modern facsimile. Or maybe you can start a new religion of some sort. Or better: We've got a whole slew of young couples sitting in Brooklyn waiting for a post somewhere…