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AQAt a leading bank, high-AQ managers were 81 percent more likely to have top-performing branches than their low-AQ counterparts.



This study assessed the relationship between AQ and performance at SunTrust — specifically, the validity of AQ in predicting the financial performance of individual branch managers and bank branches. This study therefore quantified the correlation between AQ, AQ dimensions (CORE), and the performance statistics used with SunTrust in-store banking. Performance appraisals and financial information were provided to PEAK for the SunTrust In-Store Banking division. The confidential data was analyzed by an independent statistician, who considered overall AQ, AQ dimensions (CORE), talent ratings, job classification, length of time in the current position, and various demographic variables, as well as the financial performance indicators for each branch.


Correlation: There is a statistically significant correlation between AQ and performance at SunTrust.

Branch Performance: There is a statistically significant correlation between AQ and financial performance of SunTrust’s individual branches or stores. Branch managers with AQs in the top decile were 81 percent more likely to have top-performing branches (those in the top 20 percent of all branches on profitability and growth). Those with AQs in the bottom decile were 76 percent more likely to have a bottom-performing branch (those in the bottom 20 percent on profitability and growth). According to SunTrust, AQ was the only factor that proved statistically significant in predicting the financial performance of the branch.

SunTrust AQ: This sample of individuals had a lower AQ than the U.S. and international means on AQ.

Overall AQ: The top half of the respondents had an AQ score of 156.3 compared to a score of 134.3 in the bottom half.

Performance: Because AQ correlates with performance, there is a significant difference of talent rating between the top half and bottom half of AQ (2.7 versus 2.9).

Reach: The strongest correlation between talent rating and AQ was within the Reach dimension.

Adverse Impact: For version 6.0 of the AQ ProfileŽ (the “Adversity Response Profile™”) this analysis showed no “adverse impact” for specific groups such as ethnicity, age, gender, etc.

Retention: Past research reveals AQ as a predictor of employee turnover. Individuals with higher AQs are more likely to stick it out and remain engaged, even under stressful circumstances. Lower-AQ people are more likely to become disengaged and/or quit. Extending studies of this kind longitudinally can confirm this trend in specific organizations like SunTrust. There was no correlation between AQ and age.


Table 1: Average AQ vs. Job Type
Job Type Average AQ*
Cluster Managers 165.3
Managers 147.5
Assistant Managers 145.8
FSRs 143.8

*Version 6.0 of the AQ Profile had a mean of 147.5. The mean, range, median, and mode differ on the current version, 8.1. The two versions should not be directly or statistically compared.

Table 2: Overall SunTrust Summary
Means SunTrust Range U.S. National International
AQ 145.1 Moderate 147.3 146.5
C 34.92 Mid 38.3 37.5
O 37.93 Mid 40.0 40.5
R 38.84 Mid 37.0 36.0
E 33.7 Mid 32.0 32.5
Table 3: Distribution of AQ Scores (Range = 106–183)
Participants Percent of Total Score Range
33 13 129 or below Moderately Low
196 78 130–164 Moderate
22 9 165–184 Moderately High
0 0 185–200 High

The SunTrust participant scores were below the means on two CORE dimensions and overall AQ when compared to U.S. and International scores.

Table 4: AQ Score Comparisons for Sales-Related Jobs
Means Total Sales-Related Averages Range SunTrust Averages
AQ 153.50 Moderate 145.1
C 40.10 Mid 34.92
O 41.34 Mid 37.93
R 38.36 Mid 38.84
E 33.70 Mid 33.7