(possibly not on Larry Bowa’s bookshelf)

“Good leadership permeates. . . . It cascades down, not just to the players, but to the secretaries and the hot dog vendors and yes, even the elevator operators” says USC professor Warren Bennis to the LA Times’ Kurt Streeter.  Despite the Dodgers’ recent success since adding Manny Ramirez (last night’s blowout loss in Philly aside), management guru Bennis warns, “we’re looking at a team that is labile.”

“That’s a fancy word in physiology,” he said. “A labile physical system is one that is in a state of flux.”

“Right now, Frank McCourt needs to be extremely astute with everything he does . . . [With a labile system] any intervention, any small movement, could have a huge impact, an impact that could be felt for years.”

We spoke of Arte Moreno, the Angels’ owner. When his team pulled off the recent trade for Mark Teixeira, Moreno went into hiding, allowing others to take the spotlight.

By contrast, when the Dodgers pulled off the startling trade for Ramirez, McCourt was front and center in the media, as he so often seems to be.

A sure sign that an organization has lost its way, Bennis says, is when it has constant turnover in key positions. If this is the case, the Dodgers are stuck deep in the dark forest.

My guest leaned forward. “McCourt sounds so damn equivocal whenever he is asked about Colletti’s future. That needs to stop.

“Right now, when the team is fighting for the playoffs, McCourt should show total confidence in Colletti,” Bennis said, his voice firm. “There is a time for legitimate doubt, a time when he may decide to move in another direction, but the time to show doubt is not now, not midseason. What he communicates to everyone in his entire organization is a sense of not being able to make up his mind.”