David Maxfield

David Maxfield

Vice President, 
Research and Development


About David Maxfield

David Maxfield is vice president of research at VitalSmarts, an innovator in corporate training and organizational performance.

He is co-author of three New York Times bestsellers — Influencer: The new science of leading change (2013) second edition, Change Anything: The new science of personal success (2012) and Crucial Accountability: Tools for resolving violated expectations, broken commitments, and bad behavior (2013) second edition.  

Maxfield and his partners have led a series of research projects on the role crucial conversations play in medical errors, employee retention and patient satisfaction. In the Silence Kills and the Silent Treatment studies — conducted with the American Association of Critical-care Nurses and the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses — they discovered that safety tools and checklists aren’t enough to save lives. While safety tools are one part of the solution to improving patient care, they do not compensate for failure to have crucial conversations in the hospital.

Areas of Expertise

  • Leadership
  • Communication, dialogue and conflict management
  • Patient safety
  • Patient and family engagement
  • Accountability
  • Leading change


PhD, pending dissertation - Psychology
Stanford University

BA - Psychology
Haverford College