“I . . . learned that war should be avoided whenever possible. The taking of human life should never be trivialized, and men and women should not be reduced to the Neanderthal state required to fight a war unless there is no other way,” says my former boss Joe Grano in his book, You Can’t Predict a Hero, who credits his experiences as a combat survivor in Vietnam while serving as a captain in the army’s Special Forces Green Berets for preparing him to become a highly successful Wall Street top executive.
Joe learned the hard way about the violence and tragedy of war and has both the physical and emotional scars to prove it, thus his passionate belief in avoiding it if at all possible. But with his warrior background and rather rough-around-the-edges demeanor neither would most people choose him as a poster child for a peacemaker. Yet, in many ways that’s exactly what he became, a consummate peacemaker. Joe, you see, may have learned to avoid war in every way, but he did shun conflict, for Wall Street is never without turmoil – ever! To the contrary he faced it head on with courage and haste, which may have proven to be his greatest asset in leading our company in what arguably may have been its finest era in terms of unity and prosperity.
Too often we see peace as merely the absence of conflict, and we think of peacemaking as a passive role. But an effective peacemaker actively pursues peace. He or she builds good relationships, knowing that peace is a by-product of commitment. The peacemaker anticipates problems and deals with them before they occur. When conflicts arise – and they always do – the peacemaker brings them into the open and deals with them head on before they grow to become unmanageable. Peacemaking, in other words, is an activist role, hardly a passive one. It is hard work, much harder work than waging war.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God,” the Beatitudes say. Oh, but Joe is no saint many would insist and I’d have to agree, as would he I’m sure. But when it comes to war and peace Joe knows from first-hand experience which one produces by far the more favorable results.