I hated my chemistry lab partner in college. He was always late to class, had never read the assignments, and fell asleep when we—correction, when I—was working on our final report. But I was stuck with him, thanks to a random drawing. By the end of the semester, I had decided that if I ever became a chemist, I would work alone.

Thankfully, I chose journalism instead and have since learned that good partnerships are a vital part of our world. When you get to screen and choose a smart, capable partner—be it for tennis, business, or marriage—you feel invested in making that relationship thrive. And nowhere have I seen that more readily apparent than in the multifamily world.

Earlier this year, I sat in on an industry seminar where the speakers shared a number of brilliant ideas that apartment managers have used to lure and retain residents. One example: A manager of a small apartment community partnered with a neighboring hotel to bring residents 24-hour room service and reduced room rates for their out-of-town guests. In today's mixed-use development craze, this manager found a way to make his rental-only property competitive. And the hotel got an extra boost of business.

This month in MFE, we talk about partnerships as well. In “Apartment Life,” we cite a property that partnered with a local nursery to offer gardening as an amenity. In our technology department, we touch on another creative deal, which brings fiberoptic technology to a community's residents.

However, one of the most interesting partnership tactics I've encountered was in the pages of the Wall Street Journal last month. The story focused on a CEO group that meets regularly to swap ideas and consult on important decisions. By talking with peers, these decision makers can steer clear of friends, neighbors, and high-paid consultants who often lack the necessary business acumen.

In reality, it's networking—something we do everyday on an informal basis. The difference is that these executives have committed to helping one another. Without that commitment, I don't think their partnerships would be nearly as effective.

What are some of the innovative partnerships that you have established for your company or communities? What does it take to make these relationships last? And do you agree with me—are partnerships beneficial to your business?

I often think back to my chem partner and how lucky I was to get out of that unhealthy partnership in a few short months. In the real world, it's not that easy, which is why it's so important to know and understand your potential partners before they join your team. After all, once all the papers are signed, you're committed ... for better or for worse.

Shabnam Mogharabi, Editor