Deutsche Telekom has teamed up with an American business school to improve the digital skills of its managers.

The operator has worked with the Duke Corporate Education business school to develop a year-long digital leadership program called levelUP!

Around 700 executives are already taking the training program, which showcases how “intelligent” management approaches can expand existing core business while “creating space for innovation”.

They will undergo both online and classroom training, and can choose from a range of modules.

Deutsche Telekom said levelUP! was part of its overall digital transformation agenda.

According to European Communications’ latest quarterly survey, a lack of qualified staff was the joint-second biggest challenge operators faced as they pursue their digital transformation programs.

This tied with a lack of strategy and leadership behind projects being too big, complex and time consuming.

[Read more: Telcos must walk the digital transformation walk]

Deutsche Telekom Chief Human Resources Officer, Christian P Illek (pictured above), said: “Managers today are facing truly unprecedented pressures to make changes.

“The pace of digitisation is producing organizations that are more agile.

“As a result, leadership methods and behavior are being redefined.”

He added: "It is simply not possible to manage a group like Deutsche Telekom, with its 230,000 employees worldwide, in the same way you would a start-up.

“The trick is to manage core business efficiently while developing new digital business areas successfully, like the cloud, for example.”

Deutsche Telekom saw revenues jump 5.6 percent last year thanks to “unabated growth” in the US, but its shareholding in BT caused profits to slide.

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