Skip to main content

90% of Leadership is Showing Up, The Other 10% is…

By Aaron Becker, AirSept President

I have heard often that 90% of leadership is showing up, but I never heard anyone say what composes the remaining 10%.  I propose that it is education and training. Companies that have strong leadership invest heavily in training and education. From a manufacturer’s perspective, I have discovered that the ROI is well worth the investment made — monetary costs and time, to have thoroughly trained staff and management.

I recall a movie scene from “Man on Fire” where Denzel Washington’s character put Dakota Fanning’s character to the test. He said, “There’s no such thing as tough. There is trained or untrained.  Which are you?”

Dakota quickly said, “Trained!”

Importance of Training

The point being that when you are trained, your responses are automatic and assured. As the owner of a company that manufactures service parts and tools for mobile air climate systems, it is important for my managers and staff to be able to answer customer questions quickly and assuredly. Staff can and should be your strongest brand ambassadors.  Their level of product expertise, the manner in how they respond and their ability to think quickly and with confidence on solving issues or problems will always reflect on your company.

At AirSept, we invest time and resources in training. Training and continuing education is often one of the aspects that gets cut when time or money gets tight. But, if your investment in employee or customer training improves sales and customer satisfaction, reduces waste, defers potential legal problems or grows brand awareness, then the offset for the initial cost in time and financial resources still provides a good Return on Investment. This is why we participate in trade shows and educational opportunities such as with MACS. It is also why we host periodic company meetings to focus on product training, HR policies and new technologies. 

Change is not Necessary; Survival is not Mandatory.

In this ever-evolving climate of new government regulations, automotive technologies, social and cultural shifts, now is not the time to skimp on training and education. Many managers will say that at the end of the day, they just don’t have time for formal training.  But look at the companies that are most recognized by Forbes and Fortune for their innovation and being the best places to work. These companies invest heavily in training, continuous learning programs, cross team collaboration and more for career development and advancement. The Mobile Air Climate Systems Association offers excellent training opportunities.  From 609 Certification to online and in-person training opportunities for new technologies to refresher courses, there are plenty of opportunities to grow.  Employees benefit because they see that their employer is investing in their career success. And remember, the downfall of not providing training can also be expensive. Employees, staff and management can do an equal amount of harm to companies by spreading misinformation, reacting poorly with the public or valued customers or, even worse, doing something that is illegal that could put your company in hot water. For example, did you know the daily maximum penalty for a technician working with refrigerant and NOT having a 609 certification is $44,539 per day?

To get started with a formal training program, challenge your managers to develop a plan.  Start by visiting the MACS website at and learn what opportunities are offered.  Put aside a budget to allow employees to grow their career through participation in trade shows and for networking with their peers, which is also a great learning opportunity.

Remember that when it comes to employee training and education, these are not simply a cost. Training is not an impediment to getting more things done. Continued training and education are mandatory to survival in today’s competitive marketplace, and the reward can be improved company revenue and employee satisfaction.

About AirSept and Aaron Becker

In 1989 AirSept created the first long-lasting solution to the problem of unwanted mold and mildew odor in automobile air conditioning systems. The product quickly became popular, and, in 1991, AirSept was incorporated as a company. AirSept began partnering with global OEMs and suppliers to not only market its Cooling Coil Coating, but to also develop other unique, new problem-solving products. From those humble beginnings, AirSept has grown to be the industry leader in the development of OEM and aftermarket solutions to complex automotive repair problems. AirSept products are designed to save time, money and labor. For more information, visit

Aaron Becker is the President of AirSept and is currently serving on the MACS Board of Directors. An active member of MACS for 26 years, he was elected to the board in 2023 and currently serves on multiple SAE committees.

This column “A View from the Board” originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of ACTION Magazine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *