David Maxfield

Bestselling Business Author in Leadership, Influence, & Communication; Award-Winning Teacher

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For more than twenty years, David Maxfield has led high-leverage research initiatives that uncover causes of and solutions to managerial, cultural, and operational inefficiencies that directly affect the bottom line. David’s career began with » Read Full Bio

For more than twenty years, David Maxfield has led high-leverage research initiatives that uncover causes of and solutions to managerial, cultural, and operational inefficiencies that directly affect the bottom line. David’s career began with his doctoral work in psychology at Stanford University. Since then, his impact on organizational performance has been wide-reaching as he’s helped clients such as General Mills, Harvard Medical School, Pizza Hut, and Spectrum Health increase organizational effectiveness and become measurably more vital.

Bestselling Author and Award-Winning Teacher

David is the coauthor of two New York Times bestsellers, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success and Influencer: The Power to Change Anything. A respected academic, David has taught at Stanford University and the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University. David is the recipient of the Motorola University’s Distinguished Teaching Award and Stanford University’s Dean’s Award for Innovative Industrial Education.

Compelling Speaker

Drawing from extensive academic and corporate experience, David delivers topics that are grounded in solid research and application. Speaking in front of more than five hundred audiences ranging in size from small retreats to large keynote events, David has been featured at prestigious venues including Stanford and Georgetown Universities, the American Association of Critical- Care Nurses, and the National Association of Children’s Hospitals. With an unrivaled ability to connect to his audience through engaging stories and captivating examples, David brings concepts to life—motivating listeners to put their newly-found skills and knowledge to immediate use.

Cutting-Edge Researcher

Currently, David is the vice president of research at VitalSmarts, an innovative corporate training company that teaches skills which deliver significant improvements to the results companies care about most. In the past thirty years, VitalSmarts has helped thousands of organizations, including more than three hundred of the Fortune 500, realize widespread and lasting results through its award-winning training programs. Named the 2008 Business of the Year by The Association of Learning Providers, VitalSmarts has also been ranked four times by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America and has taught two million people worldwide. As vice president of research, David has led a series of research projects on a variety of subjects including the role crucial conversations play in the healthcare industry, and how the ongoing failure rate within enterprise projects is consistently linked to the avoidance of a few key crucial conversations. David has also led research projects about diversity, leadership, and influence.

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Media files by David Maxfield

  • David Maxfield: Media File 1

Speaker Programs (Click on each program to view the description)

Crucial Conversations
Crucial conversations (conversations where stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong) happen every day and impact all of our results, yet few people invest in the skills for holding them well. Studies show that the inability to discuss a problem can be more destructive than the problem itself. Issues like poor productivity, declining quality, lack of teamwork, or strained relationships are often the effects of crucial conversations that aren't being held or aren't being held well. Learn to step up to high stakes conversations skillfully and respectfully and begin to resolve the problems.
The Four Crucial Conversations for Financial Agility (Financial Leadership)
Financially agile companies adapt to changing economic circumstances far more rapidly and effectively than the rest of the pack. A study of 1,400 executives and managers attributed thier financial agility to the capacity to handle four crucial conversations around fiscal challenges.
Silence Kills, The Seven Crucial Conversations for Healthcare (Healthcare)
Every year, 195,000 people die in U.S. hospitals because of medical mistakes. Often, well-intentioned professionals in healthcare organizations choose not to speak up when they're concerned with the behavior, decisions, or actions of a colleague. The study, Silence Kills: The Seven Crucial Conversations for Healthcare, conducted by VitalSmarts in conjunction with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, links people's ability to discuss emotionally and politically risky topics in a healthcare setting with key results.
Influencer, The Power to Change Anything (Healthcare)
Influencer draws on the best practices of many of the world's leading change agents and on five decades of social-science research to create a powerful model for changing behavior. You'll follow the experiences of influence masters who have succeeded in solving some of the world's most profound problems. Examples ranging from major healthcare reform to reversals of destructive social behaviors to unprecedented corporate turnarounds will illustrate how a proven set of skills makes change not only achievable but sustainable.
Leadership for Maximum Engagement, Crucial Skills for Team and Organizational Performance (Strategic Leadership)
For decades, experts and researchers have studied and dissected what differentiates the best leaders and leadership teams from the worst. This research has led the VitalSmarts team of experts to focus on vision, audacious goals, execution, and accountability. Leadership expert and New York Times bestselling author David Maxfield argues that rather than separating the bad from the good, leadership teams will learn more by asking what differentiates the good from the best. The best teams achieve something the rest never attain: 100 percent engagement and absolute intellectual honesty. The Holy Grail of team performance is completely leveraging the hearts and minds of every team member. Typically, the roadblock that derails teams from leveraging their full potential is found in breakdowns of Crucial Conversations. Failures to fully disclose intellectual differences and fully confront collapses in performance are the root cause of mistrust, politics, and disengagement in top teams. This highly practical, entertaining, and engaging presentation will draw from 20 years of study with over 100 executive-level and senior management teams that highlights skills needed to attain 100 percent engagement. Maxfield and his co-authors have spent more than 10,000 hours watching how virtuoso teams manage crises, make decisions, and spur each other to peak performance through masterful practice of crucial conversations. Participants will learn skills that will immediately help them improve their crucial conversations and influence their team to maximum engagement.


  • Healthcare
  • Keynote (Business)
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork/Team Building (Crucial Conversations)


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