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Universities live in interesting times. For instance, government policies in Australia are allowing for more deregulation of the student market while overseas universities are entering the Australian domestic market. In an environment of increasing uncertainty, sound strategic planning is important. Processes including benchmarking, environmental scanning, knowledge management and risk management can identify best practice and guide "strategic pursuit". Two approaches are suggested to assist universities. The first is to expand planning frameworks from within-sector to include cross-sector comparisons. The second is to use these processes not only towards strategic pursuit but also to learn from mistakes made in other sectors, that is, "strategic avoidance". To defend this approach, potential lessons which could be learnt by universities from other sectors are provided. The concept of strategic avoidance has relevance for universities in other countries, and in addition, may be used by organisations in other sectors.