If people are performing a new behavior, task, or activity, and they aren’t doing it 100% perfectly, make sure to celebrate the closeness of their efforts.
By celebrate, I mean to identify the variables that are making it ‘close’.
Many years ago, I remember we came in 2nd on a complex training proposal on which we had bid. The organization that won the bid was a huge international organization. The fact that our organization came in 2nd, while not the ‘win’, I still felt was a great accomplishment.
By celebrating the closeness of the match, we kept people engaged to tackle the next challenge! (And yes, we debriefed as to why we didn’t come first!)