Eden Prairie City Manager Scott Neal, leadership blogger, soon taking the reins at Edina

A month ago, Eden Prairie MN City Manager Scott Neal announced on his blog that he’d accepted a new job as City Manager for the City of Edina, MN.  See this recent feature in the Star Tribune newspaper profiling his career: Edina’s new city manager has lifelong interest in governance.

Griff Wigley and Scott Neal

Scott and I had breakfast last week at Turtle Bread in south Minneapolis near his home.

I got to know Scott when he became Northfield’s city administrator in 1996. Only 100 days on the job, he became our first guest in an online web forum that I moderated titled State of the City (transcript). When he departed Northfield for the city manager job Eden Prairie in late 2002, he became my second leadership blogging client (see this blog post of mine dated March 31, 2003).

UK government delegation visits Northfield, 2004Scott Neal gives keys to Kingston Scott Neal gets keys from Kingston
(Left photo): When a delegation from the UK government visited Northfield during the summer of 2004 to learn about the civic leadership blogging in Northfield and Eden Prairie, it turned into a trip to the UK in Feb. 2005 for both us to teach local leaders there about leadership blogging (see the album of 240 photos).

(Center and right photos): Scott gave ceremonial keys to the city to the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames when we visited the city, and Kingston Councilor Mary Reid (recently retired) did likewise when she and others from the UK visited MN for the International Symposium on Local E-Democracy and spent a day in Northfield (see my blog post with photos here) to discuss leadership blogging at the local government level. (See Mary Reid’s blog post on our visit here.)

Scott’s blogging taught me more about the power of a leadership blog than I taught him. I remember the most startling revelation for me was the extent to which he used his blog to communicate indirectly to the employees of the City of Eden Prairie. ‘Indirectly’ because the audience for his blog was primarily local citizens but his staff followed his blog closely.

Affirming people is one of the key ways to use a leadership blog and Scott consistently did this in his 7+ years of blogging as Eden Prairie City Manager. See this recent blog post where he singles out three employees for detailed recognition.

Will Scott be blogging in his new job?  Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “Eden Prairie City Manager Scott Neal, leadership blogger, soon taking the reins at Edina

  1. Let’s hope he does.

    Interesting that some of this work was viewed as “to communicate indirectly to the employees of the City of Eden Prairie.” All blogging is to communicate with a mass audience even if a niche audience or demographic is targetted. Other audiences – and largely silent ones at that – are going to find this communication sooner or later. The unintended consequence of world-wide broadcasting shouldn’t be overlooked. Which leads to the importance of honest dialogue in everything that is posted and shared.

    In saying that, I can foresee fear in many people’s eyes. There is nothing to fear if your intent is to communicate with integrity, fairness and honesty. It’s when people try to manipulate a situation or hide things that they run into problems.

    Thanks, Griff, for continuing to highlight the individuals who are using leadership blogging successfully and showing that blogging is effective and not such a scary thing to do.

    1. Paul, I think the other audience that Scott alerted me to waaaay back in 2003 was the local Eden Prairie newspaper. Reporters there followed his blog closely. In the early days, they’d phone and email him about something they’d read in his blog. And at some point, they started just excerpting from it without contacting him… which he was happy about.

      More recently, the paper grabs his RSS feed and imports his most recent blog post into their site:

Comments are closed.