Know Your Acronyms: General Business Terms and Titles - Senior Executive
Leadership 9 min

Know Your Acronyms: General Business Terms and Titles

TL;DR: Avoid FOMO with this list of 150+ acronyms and initialisms used in business.

by Kimberly Valentine on January 24, 2023

QUICK TAKE

  • Do you know the difference between KPIs and OKRs, or MVPs and POCs?

  • Does your leadership style follow the REAL or SERVANT principles?

  • Check out our list of acronyms and initialisms for common business terms, professional titles, and more.

“Our L&D OKRs are on target, and FWIW I think our EIC and SME should work together to develop employer branding content by EOQ. LMK what you think.” 

Copy that? 

While devised to simplify communications, the ever-growing list of business acronyms and initialisms is bound to confuse even the most connected executives from time to time, especially when working across departments. Throw into the mix the ones used in Slack messages — AFAIK, it’s NBD — and it may seem your colleague is speaking a different language. 

Here’s a list of today’s commonly used acronyms and initialisms in business to help you decode your team members’ DMs or next company-wide presentation. Click on the category below to jump to the related collection of acronyms.

Business Terms

B2B: Business To Business 

B2C: Business To Consumer 

BD: Business Development

BI: Business Intelligence

DEI: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
This may also appear as DE&I or DEIB, with the ‘B’ for belonging.

EQ/EI: Emotional Intelligence 

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

GTM: Go To Market 
This is usually in reference to the technology, logistics, and marketing strategies of a new product ready to launch. 

HQ: Headquarters

KB: Knowledge Base 
This is an online library where procedures, frameworks, and product details are documented for internal or external referencing. A knowledge base for internal use may include training documents, while product manuals may be found in an external knowledge base.

KSF: Key Success Factor
The main thing driving a business’s success or an idea or new product’s success. 

L&D: Learning and Development 
Collective efforts that are specifically designed to develop employees’ skills and knowledge within the company. These educational and training initiatives may be managed by the human resources team, a chief learning officer, a chief talent development officer, or by individual team leaders. 

LOB: Line Of Business
This refers to the product or service (or group of products or services) that a company offers, as well as the process the company uses to deliver them. For instance, manufacturing electric vehicles is a line of business. 

M&A: Merger and Acquisition 
The process of two businesses merging as one or one business acquiring another. 

MTM: Management Team Meeting 

MVP: Minimum Viable Product
An initial iteration of a product delivered to customers. It is often used to validate interest and attain feedback for future improvements and development. 

NGO: Nongovernmental Organization 

NPS: Net Promoter Score 
This score represents the overall customer perception of your brand. The metric is commonly used in market research and as an indicator of business growth. 

POC: Proof Of Concept
This is a business idea or method that’s ready to be tested for its feasibility and practicality. 

R&D: Research and Development
The collective efforts toward market research and product development. This term can account for company-wide initiatives or refer to a dedicated R&D team. 

SD: Sales Development

SMB: Small to Medium Size Business

SME: Small to Medium Size Enterprise

SOP: Standard Operating Procedure 

T&D: Training and Development 
Similar to L&D, these initiatives can be managed by a dedicated CLO or CTDO or by individual team leaders. 

WFH: Work From Home

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Deadlines and Time Estimates

ASAP: As Soon As Possible

BIW: Bi-weekly 

COB: Close Of Business 
This term can be used interchangeably with EOB. 

EOB: End Of Business 
This term can be used interchangeably with COB. 

EOD: End Of Day 
Note that EOD can mean after regular business hours, as opposed to COB or EOB. 

EOM: End Of Month 

EOQ: End Of Quarter 

EOW: End Of Week

EOY: End Of Year 

ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival 

FY: Fiscal Year 

MoM: Month Over Month 

QoQ: Quarter Over Quarter 

TBD: To Be Determined 

YoY: Year Over Year 

YTD: Year to date 

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Frameworks for Customer-Facing Communications

CARES: Communication, Accountability, Responsiveness, Empathy, Solution
A framework for communicating with both external and internal stakeholders.

GUEST: Greet, Understand, Education, Satisfy, Thank 
A framework for communicating with both external and internal stakeholders.

HEAT:  Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Take Action
A framework for communicating with both external and internal stakeholders.

HEART: Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Respond, Thank
A framework for communicating with both external and internal stakeholders.

LAARC: Listen, Acknowledge, Assess, Respond, Confirm 
This framework prioritizes actively listening to a customer’s concerns and reasons for resistance, asking questions to assess the situation, thoughtfully responding with a solution, and ensuring the customer feels satisfied with the result. 

LAER: Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, Respond 
Similar to LAARC, this customer-facing communications and problem-solving framework prioritizes listening to the customer and ensuring they know they’ve been heard and understood. Then, question-asking and dialogue is used to further explore the situation before responding with a proposed solution. 

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Global Regions

AMER: North America, Central America, and South America Regions 

AMEA: Asia, Middle East, and Africa Regions 

ANZ: Australia and New Zealand Regions 

APAC: Asia Pacific Region

EMEA: Europe, Middle East, and Africa Regions

LATAM: Latin America Region

NA: North America Region

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Goal-Setting, Performance, and Leadership Approaches

CIGAR: Current Reality, Ideal, Gaps, Action, Review 
This is a coaching framework in which an employee’s current situation is defined, an ideal outcome or objective is identified, gaps between the current situation and reaching the outcome or objective are explored, action is decided on and taken to close those gaps, and the process is reviewed to determine success. 

GROW: Goal, Reality, Options, Will/Way Forward 
A coaching framework to help an employee define a goal, their current situation, the ways they can reach that goal, and then take action to achieve it. 

KPI: Key Performance Indicator
A critical performance metric that is tied to the progress of a specific objective or goal. 

KPM: Key Performance Metric 
A quantifiable measurement of an organization’s performance, which can also be used as a KPI. 

MBO: Management by Objectives 
This management style benchmarks and measures specific performance goals that are agreed on between the manager and employee.

MBWA: Management by Walking Around 
A management style that involves regularly observing and listening to your team members to monitor performance, gather feedback, identify challenges, and acknowledge efforts.

OKRs: Objectives and Key Results 
This is a framework for goal-setting in which measurable goals are defined and the progress toward the goals, as well as their outcomes, are tracked. 

PRO: Playoff Season, Regular Season, Off Season
This is a business mindset framework that applies sports leadership lessons to leading a business through chaotic times. It focuses on what should happen through each phase of a sports season: off season, regular season, and playoff season. Read more about the PRO mindset here.

REAL: Respect, Empathy, Active Collaboration, Listening 
A leadership style that adheres to these four priorities when engaging with team members and colleagues. 

SERVANT: Selfless, Empathetic, Resolute, Virtuous, Authentic, Needful, Thorough 
A leadership style that adheres to these seven priorities when engaging with team members and colleagues. 

SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely 
This framework includes five criteria to consider to ensure a goal or objective is justifiable before taking action on it. 

SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats 
The analysis of these four factors is a framework that’s intended to identify various positive and negative aspects of a business plan or idea before pursuing it. 

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Titles, C-Suite and Executive

BOD: Board of Directors 

CAO
Chief Accounting Officer
Chief Administrative Officer
Chief Analytics Officer

CCO
Chief Commercial Officer
Chief Communications Officer
Chief Community Officer  
Chief Compliance Officer
Chief Culture Officer
Chief Customer Officer    

CDEIO: Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer 

CDO
Chief Data Officer 
Chief Digital Officer 
Chief Diversity Officer 

CEO: Chief Executive Officer 

CFO: Chief Financial Officer

CGO: Chief Growth Officer 

CHRO: Chief Human Resources Officer 

CIO
Chief Information Officer 
Chief Innovation Officer 

CLO
Chief Learning Officer 
Chief Legal Officer 

CMO
Chief Marketing Officer 
Chief Metaverse Officer 

COO: Chief Operating Officer 

CPO: Chief People Officer 

CRO: Chief Revenue Officer

CSO
Chief Security Officer
Chief Sustainability Officer

CTDO: Chief Talent Development Officer

CTO
Chief Talent Officer 
Chief Technology Officer 
Chief Trust Officer

CXO: Chief Experience Officer 

ED: Executive Director 

GC: General Counsel 

MD: Managing Director 

MP: Managing Partner 

SVP: Senior Vice President

VP: Vice President

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Titles, Sales and Business Development

AA: Account Assistant 

ABM: Area Business Manager 

AD: Assistant Director 

AE: Account Executive

AM: Account Manager 

BA: Business Analyst 

BDR: Business Development Representative 

EAM: Executive Account Manager 

SDM: Sales Development Manager 

SDR: Sales Development Representative

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Titles, Technology

BE Developer: Back-End Developer 

DA: Data Analyst 

FE Developer: Front-End Developer 

JS Developer: JavaScript Developer

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Titles, Various Professionals

AD: Art Director

CEBS: Certified Employee Benefits Specialist 

CFP: Certified Financial Planner

CO: Compliance Officer

CPA: Certified Public Accountant 

CSR: Customer Service Representative  

EA: Executive Assistant 

ED: Editorial Director 

EIC: Editor-In-Chief

ME: Managing Editor 

PA: Personal Assistant 

PIO: Public Information Officer 

PM
Production Manager 
Project Manager

POC: Point of Contact

PRO: Public Relations Officer 

SME: Subject Matter Expert

VA: Virtual Assistant 

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What’s In Your DMs?

AFAIK: As Far As I Know

AKA: Also Known As 

AMA: Ask Me Anything

ATM: At The Moment

BC: Because 

BID: Break It Down 

BRB: Be Right Back

BTW: By The Way 

DM: Direct Message 

DYK: Did You Know?

FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out 

FTW: For The Win

FWIW: For What It’s Worth

FYI: For Your Information 

IAC: In Any Case

IAM: In A Meeting 

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

IDC: I Don’t Care

IDK: I Don’t Know 

IMHO: In My Humble Opinion

IMO: In My Opinion 

IRL: In Real Life 

LMK: Let Me Know

LOL: Laughing Out Loud

NBD: No Big Deal

NP: No Problem 

NRN: No Reply Necessary 

NVM: Never Mind 

OT: Off Topic 

TBH: To Be Honest 

TL;DR/TLDR: Too Long; Didn’t Read 
Usually followed with a colon and a brief synopsis to replace or summarize a longer document, discussion, or meeting.

YOLO: You Only Live Once 

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Does your team use business acronyms and initialisms that are not on this list? Send them our way at editor@seniorexecutive.com.


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