Adnan Lee’s Success

In Malaysia, MBG Fruits is already a household name, still, here is an introduction fact to get you to keep reading this. MBG (short for Money Back Guarantee) has 100 outlets recording more than RM144 million in revenue annually, and are the nation’s biggest fruit retailer. I had the opportunity to meet CEO and Owner Mr. Adnan Lee in his office in Damansara – and when I arrived and before our meeting, two things become immediately clear – the happy and energetic atmosphere all around, and a dedication to the company shown by his staff that is rarely seen anywhere else.


Knowing we were there to meet their big boss, the staff told us to wait while they gather a few people to clean Mr. Adnan’s office – you read that right, they picked up a mop and cloths and started cleaning up his office themselves – not a cleaner in sight. Additionally, the staff of MBG talk about their work with pride –even the lorry drivers and the fruit packers. Little wonder that their turnover rate is practically unheard of in any company especially in retail – less than 1% – something to definitely boast about with a staff size of 400 strong.


When we finally met Mr. Adnan Lee, we had all these questions for him, How did he do it? Was is his secret? Fortunately, he was more than happy to share his methods of keeping his staff happy and loyal.


Here are some of the things he shared with us – lessons from a successful fruit vendor:

  • There is life in a company with good values

There is a need in every company to have harmony – harmony amongst employees, harmony between the bosses and their subordinates, and harmony between the employer and their employees. To ensure this, a set of strong core values need to be established. Core values shape the identity of the company – values that must be shared by all, and most importantly, embodied by the company’s leaders.

  • Don’t ever forget your company’s mission & vision

Mr. Adnan would go so far as to say that the company’s mission is its heart – it needs to beat willingly and continuously without instruction, or the company would die. The mission has to be first and foremost in the mind of every employee in the company. Once the company’s mission is forgotten, that is when the company no longer becomes an effective entity – its heart has stopped beating.

  • Realize the potential of your best employees

It is interesting to see that a Marketing Executive of MBG could start with just a shop assistant post in one of its retail shops. Mr. Adnan gives his best employees endless opportunities for pay raises, bonuses, and promotions. It is a fact that retail shop assistants who meet and exceed their KPIs consistently will be offered a chance to run their own retail branch. This results in 2 things, he gets a trusted manager to run a branch and a loyal employee who is motivated to do well. Even if the employee doesn’t have the traditional ‘education’ background.

  • Grow your employees with you

One of Mr. Adnan’s personal life goals is to create 100 millionaires from within the company.
He genuinely wants to see people succeed especially his employees, and would actively help them to get there. In turn, this incites a fierce kind of loyalty from his staff – they know and believe that the work they do is helping both them and the company move forward. Their goals and the company’s goals are aligned. Who wouldn’t want to see their company succeed in that case?

  • Create a culture centered on the core values through examples

It is important for a company’s leaders to always uphold the core values through example. Mr. Adnan maintains that core values that cannot be embodied by its leaders should not be part of its core values. MBG’s 4 core values – honesty, mutual respect, sincerity, and cleanliness – are close to his heart and demonstrated by Mr. Adnan every day of work. They are displayed proudly and prominently at the stairway entrance to the office, a daily reminder to the people of MBG.

These are lessons that could ensure the best employee experience by increasing employee engagement, simultaneously creating employee loyalty to the organization. Perhaps the thing that is most evident about Mr. Adnan is his continuous willingness to work hard to achieve is life goals and company goals, and his passion to help people grow.


He said early on in our conversation that he was never a good student in school, but after school, he worked hard to be where he is now – the leader of the most successful fruit retailer in Malaysia. He does not plan to stop there. Expansion plans for more retail stores nationwide are strong, they have dominated online fruit sales and they have started on sales in international markets as well.


You will definitely see more of MBG in the future. With excellent work values and a strong employee force behind him, there is little doubt MBG will make it big as an internationally recognized fruit brand soon. Be sure to follow Mr. Adnan Lee’s and MBG’s progress on their website at www.mbg.com.my or their FB page MBG Fruit Shop.

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